- Within the overall definition of ODA, humanitarian aid is assistance designed to save lives, alleviate suffering and maintain and protect human dignity during and in the aftermath of emergencies. To be classified as humanitarian, aid should be consistent with the humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence.
Humanitarian aid will usually be funded from appropriations dedicated to emergencies and their immediate aftermath and/or the prevention thereof or preparedness therefor, and funding from such appropriations is the main criterion for reporting expenditure as humanitarian aid. If the humanitarian nature of expenditure cannot be determined by its funding appropriation, members may for statistical reporting purposes have reference to situation reports by the United Nations and/or the International Movement of the Red Cross/Red Crescent (ICRC/IFRC). These are normally issued throughout an emergency to identify continuing humanitarian needs. If no UN or ICCRC/IFRC situation report has been issued for six months, this could indicate that the situation is no longer perceived as an emergency, though international support could nevertheless be needed to address continuing humanitarian needs.