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Unified Financial Annex

 Content Editor ‭[1]‬

Understanding the Unified Financial annex
The previous Standard Financial Annex (SFA) and Project and Programme Sheet (PPS) have been merged into a Unified Financial Annex (UFA)[1].
The purpose of the UFA is to consolidate information on resources mobilized by affected country Parties and their development partners under the framework of relevant strategies and action programmes. It facilitates the aggregation of data on financial commitments, investments and resources made available by all relevant funding sources for activities related to the implementation of the Convention. It also helps to minimize double counting in financial statistics.
The UFA is to be used by each country Party and other reporting entity to list all financial commitments they have made during the reporting period in support of institutions, programmes, projects, as well as other relevant initiatives undertaken at the national or international level for the implementation of the Convention.
More specifically, for each relevant financial commitment or allocation made in the reporting period, the UFA requires a minimum set of data grouped as follows:
(a) Identification, that is, data required to identify the reporting entity, such as the name of the activity financed and the identification code, if any;
(b) Basic data, that is, data specifying the amount and type of funding, as well as the recipient country or region, and the status of the activity (e.g. completed, ongoing, proposal);
(c) Classification, that is, categorization of the funded activity according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Rio Markers, the UNCCD Relevant Activity Codes (RACs)[2] and the Strategic/Operational objectives of The Strategy.
The compilation of the UFA is guided by means of a template, which responds to the recommendations of the CRIC and the COP related to the assessment of implementation, including performance and impact indicators, methodology and the reporting procedures.[3]
These guidelines should be read in conjunction with the reporting glossary.
Data needed
List of the relevant activities and initiatives undertaken for the implementation of the Convention, including information on: co-financing and funding, Rio Markers, activities undertaken, and strategic and operational objectives targeted for each item;
Data sources
§ Financial programme and project related documents;
§ National policy, regulatory and economic/financial documents;
§ OECD/Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Creditor Reporting System, national aid databases/system of developed country Parties.
Check the glossary
“Relevant Activity Codes (RACs)”, “Rio Marker (RM)”, “strategic objectives”, “operational objectives”, “UFA”.

Please note: one UFA should be compiled for each activity funded. Additional UFAs can be added by clicking the “add a new Unified Financial Annex full section” button.
Identification code and name of the activity
Please note that a full Unified Financial Annex will be displayed when you enter the identification code of the activity.
Recipient country, subregion and region
Drop-down menus will be displayed for the recipient countries/subregions/regions, according to the adopted classification in the UNCCD process.
More than one country/subregion/region can be indicated for each activity.
Reporting entities should indicate the status of the activity at the end of the reporting period, as follows:
§ Committed;
§ Proposal;
§ Ongoing;
§ Completed.
This means that, for instance, if an activity was ongoing at the beginning of the reporting period and completed before the end of the reporting period, it should be reported on as “completed”.
Additional sources of co-funding can be reported on, by clicking on the “add another co-financing information row” button.
Type of funding
More than one funding instrument can be reported for each activity.
Rio Markers[4]
The Rio Markers (RMs) are indicators of the degree of relevance of a given activity in addressing the objectives of a Rio convention.[5] RMs are to be used in the Unified Financial Annex (UFA) for the classification of all financial commitments or investments included in the UNCCD report.
RMs are designed as indicators to gauge the level to which countries implement specific policies in their programmes. Like other “policy markers” already applied for other cross-cutting issues such as “environmental sustainability” and “gender equality”, RMs are descriptive rather than quantitative. They are used for giving an indication of the policy objectives targeted by a given activity, but do not allow exact quantification of the financial investment into those objectives.
In the elaboration of the UFA, reporting entities are invited to tick the box corresponding to the selected score for each financial commitment or investment included in the UFA.
The screening of an activity against the objectives of a Rio convention can result in the following scores:
0 (not targeted): means that the activity is found not to target the objectives of the Convention;
1 (significant): means that targeting the objectives of the Convention is an important but secondary purpose of the activity (i.e. not one of the principal reasons for undertaking the activity);
2 (principal): means that targeting the objectives of the Convention is an explicit objective of the activity and fundamental in its design (i.e. the activity would not have been undertaken without this objective);
3 (action programme/action programme related (AP-related)): for desertification only. It means that the activity was undertaken to combat desertification/land degradation as a principal objective and in support of an action programme (NAP, SRAP or RAP) to implement the UNCCD.
It is important to note that only the UNCCD has a dedicated marker for activities that specifically refer to the UNCCD process and/or support a national or (sub)regional action programme. It should also be noted that, to qualify for a score of “principal”, “significant” or “AP-related”, the objective has to be explicitly promoted in project documentation.
The scores are to be applied according to the definitions and eligibility criteria illustrated in the official OECD DAC documents containing the RM reporting directives (see below).
Scores “1” or “2” are assigned if the activity in question contributes to meeting the objectives of the corresponding Rio convention(s). In the case of a desertification-related project, for example, if the project envisages proactive action to combat desertification (e.g. reducing environmental stress) as a significant subcomponent, it would be rated “1” (significant). If the project comprises principal components related to combating desertification, it would be rated “2” (principal). If the project is undertaken to combat desertification/land degradation as a principal objective and explicitly refers to the UNCCD process, it would be rated “3” (AP-related). Conversely, if no direct contribution to combating desertification is determined, the project would be rated “0” (not targeted).
Activities should be marked according to their stated objectives. For example, a project to increase local income-generating opportunities through improved management and sustainable use of biodiversity would be marked for the biodiversity marker as a principal objective. However, if a similar project aims to increase local income-generating opportunities through a number of activities including, for example, livestock rearing, food processing, vegetable gardening and the management and use of biodiversity, the principal objective would not apply, although the significant objective could be considered.
It is worth noting that an activity that undertakes or facilitates mainstreaming can qualify for the principal score. For example, an activity that is primarily designed to support the integration of biodiversity, climate change or land degradation into national and subnational policies, planning and investment frameworks should obtain the principal objective score (i.e. “2”).
The activities marked as “principal” can be considered as contributing to the policy objective in question. Less than the full value of activities marked as “significant” target the objective and, hence, only a proportion of these amounts should be considered in statistics of financial flows.[6]
It should be noted that only one score can be selected each time. However, the same activity can qualify for more than one Convention’s marker. The Conventions often complement and reinforce each other. In some cases, the same policies or measures can simultaneously address climate change, biodiversity and desertification objectives. The most obvious examples relate to the sustainable management of natural resources. For example, a sustainable forest management project can contribute to biodiversity conservation, to capturing carbon dioxide (climate change mitigation) and to reducing climate risk (climate change adaptation). In drylands, such a project can also help to combat desertification.
Therefore, in certain cases, the same activity can obtain more than one principal or significant objective score (i.e. score “2” for biodiversity and score “2” for climate change mitigation; or “2” for biodiversity and “1” for climate change mitigation).
Relevant activity code
The Relevant Activity Codes (RACs) indicate categories of measures that are typically put in place to combat desertification, land degradation and drought. These categories are derived from the text of the Convention and its Strategy.
The broad list of RACs[7] reflects the cross-cutting nature of desertification/land degradation and the wide spectrum of measures that can be put in place in response to these complex phenomena.[8]
The current version of RACs[9] includes 25 codes clustered under four main areas:
§ Knowledge management;
§ Enabling activities;
§ Land degradation prevention;
§ Restoration and recovery.
The RACs are to be used in the UFA for the classification of financial commitments towards UNCCD-related activities, programmes and projects. More specifically, RACs shall be used to indicate which type of activities are meant to be put in place through the funding provided, and/or which type of remedies against desertification, land degradation or drought are included in a given programme or project as primary or secondary components.
It should be noted that multiple RACs can be attributed to a financial commitment, depending on the scope of the activity and objectives pursued. An appropriate use of the RACs will ensure an accurate description of the contribution that a given activity is making to the implementation of the UNCCD and its objectives.
Strategic and operational objectives targeted
More than one operational and strategic objective of the Strategy can be reported for each activity. It is important that you indicate at least one operational or strategic objective.

[1] In 2009, the COP adopted the RACs as part of the new financial reporting templates (the SFA and PPS), to be annexed to the official reports on UNCCD implementation submitted by country Parties and other reporting entities from 2010 onwards. Further to the provisions contained in decision 16/COP.11, the SFA and PPS have been merged into a UFA.
[2] Guidelines on the use of the Rio markers and the RACs are provided in the “quick reference guide” ( Additional references can be found in the following documents:
- Reporting directives for the Creditor Reporting System – Addendum Rio markers – D CD/DAC(2002)21/ADD, available at <>;
- Reporting directives for the Creditor Reporting System – DCD/DAC(2007)39/FINAL/ADD, available at<>;
[3] In particular, decisions 13/COP.9, 14/COP.10, 14/COP.11, 15/COP.11 and 16/COP.11.
[4] The definitions, criteria of eligibility, scoring instructions and examples of RMs can be found on the OECD website at <>.
[5] RMs have been developed by OECD DAC in consultation with the secretariats of the three Rio conventions and with the GM. Originally there were three RMs: for biodiversity, climate change mitigation and desertification. In 2010, an additional marker was created for climate change adaptation. RMs have been used by OECD DAC member countries since 1998 for the identification of aid activities of relevance to the three Rio conventions among all the Official Development Assistance (ODA) data available in the Creditor Reporting System (CRS). RMs have also been used by the GM since 2001 for the classification of information in the GM Financial Information Engine on Land Degradation (FIELD) for the sustainable land management (SLM) portfolio reviews by international financial institutions (IFIs) and for statistical analyses of relevant funding and investment flows. In 2004, the Executive Secretaries of the three Rio Conventions expressed their support for the RM methodology in a joint letter to the Chair of OECD DAC, stating, inter alia, that RMs allow “not only to estimate the ODA financial flows and identify trends, but can also serve as the basis for streamlining the reporting of the aid-related activities under the Rio conventions by the Parties, thus ensuring provision of consistent data and avoiding double reporting”.
[6] The methodology used by the GM for calculating resource intensity is described in “Towards harmonization and standardization: a proposed methodological guide to improve financial reporting under the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification”.
[8] The initial list of RACs originated from the report of the United States National Drought Policy Commission, “Preparing for drought in the 21st century”, published in May 2000.
[9] RACs are maintained, regularly updated and published by the GM on its website, in conformity with decision 13/COP.9 (paragraph 10). RACs have been in use since 2001 for the classification of information in the GM FIELD, as well as for the review and analysis of the portfolios of SLM operations by major IFIs.

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