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Forward looking


Developing countries have, since 2008, been asking their development partners to provide forward-looking data which can be used for both planning and budget preparation. While aggregated country-level budgets have a certain political value it is activity-level data that is of greatest benefit, and which this dimension attempts to assess.

The standard asks publishers to break down their total commitment to an activity into annual or quarterly budgets - i.e. the sum of the reported budgets matches the sum of commitments. It is stressed that these budget breakdowns are indicative and are in no way binding.

This assessment counts the number of current activities for this and the next two years that contain budgets. It is based on a number of assumptions:

  • For any given future year all current activities should contain a budget.
  • Activities are deemed to be current in any given year if their end date is reported to be in this year or beyond (or if there is no end date)
  • Counting the number of activities that contain budgets provides a fairer result that summing the value of these budgets. The proportion of a publisher's total commitment for a future year that has already been committed to existing projects may vary greatly. (i.e you may have earmarked an amount to spend in three-years time, but not yet agreed on how to spend it.)
  • For publisher's reporting multiple hierarchical levels ONLY the lowest level is used in this calculation.


 No separate assessment is provided as the percentage of current activities containing budgets for this and the next two years is the de facto assessment. No attempt is currently being made to turn these into a descriptive summary (as, for example, "Frequency = "Monthly"). The percentage for the middle year (i.e. 'next year') is of most relevance to developing countries.


  • Dashes
    • Where a percentage can not be calculated, because the denominator is zero, a dash is used.
  • Red Flags
    • Publishers who publish forward looking budgets at hierarchical levels other than the lowest are marked with a red flag.

Comparison with Global Partnership Indicator methodology

This methodology differs substantially from the GP Indicator in two ways.

  • All current activities are assessed, NOT only those containing Country Programmable Aid. CPA is calculated by the Forward Spending Survey by excluding activities based on a complex filtering of purpose codes, finance types and aid types. Firstly this is difficult to explain. Secondly the provision, or lack thereof, of forward looking data is not believed to be determined by CPA status. Thirdly, as a multi-stakeholder standard many publishers, in particular implementing agencies, do not necessarily report CRS-specific fields.
  • As explained above the number of activities with budgets, NOT the value of budgets is counted.


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