How do we track human rights funding from bilateral and multilateral donors?

We began analyzing funding from bilateral and multilateral donors in 2014 to provide a more comprehensive picture of the human rights funding landscape. We worked with a committee of advisors to consider options for securing this data, and decided to use the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Creditor Reporting System (OECD-CRS).

The OECD-CRS is one of the most comprehensive data sets on aid flows available and contains information about tens of thousands of disbursements annually. The data set is limited to the 30 countries that make up the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC), along with almost 40 non-DAC countries and multilateral organizations that choose to report their giving. The data set only includes aid to countries that qualify for Official Development Assistance (ODA).

Bilateral and multilateral institutions that report their giving to the OECD-CRS can choose to assign a “human rights” issue code, but they can only assign one issue code for each disbursement. This means that disbursements that more closely match a different category (such as “women’s equality organizations and institutions” or “democratic participation”) won't receive a human rights code, even though that funding would meet our definition of human rights grantmaking. With this in mind, we use a combination of OECD-CRS codes and key words to capture rights-related funding. We then map that funding to the regions, populations, and human rights issues we track.