An aid agency is an organisation dedicated to distributing aid. Many professional aid organisations exist, both within government (e.g. AusAID, USAID, DFID, EuropeAid, ECHO), between governments as multilateral donors (e.g. UNDP) and as private voluntary organizations or non-governmental organisations, (e.g. ActionAid, Ducere Foundation, Oxfam, World Vision). The International Committee of the Red Cross is the world’s oldest humanitarian organisation and is unique in being mandated by international treaty to uphold the Geneva Conventions.
Aid can be subdivided into two categories: humanitarian aid (emergency relief efforts, e.g. in response to natural disasters), and development aid (or foreign aid), aimed at helping countries to achieve long-term sustainable economic growth, with the aim of achieving poverty reduction. Some aid agencies carry out both kinds of aid (e.g. EcoCARE Pacific Trust and ADRA), whilst others specialise (e.g. Red Cross, humanitarian aid; War on Want, development aid).