The overarching objective of Polish development cooperation is support of the sustainable socio-economic development of the developing countries and their societies, undertaing actions aiming at reduction of powerty, improving people's health, education and vocational qualifications levels, support for democratization processes and building of modern state's institutions, promotion of human rights and supporting civil society. Supporting sustainable socio-economic development is one of the pillars of Polish development aid as set out in the Act of 16 September 2011.
Polish development cooperation is a part of Polish foreign policy, blending in the european and global development policy, including support for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Polish development cooperation also contributes to broadening knowledge of the Poles on global interdependancies between the highly developed world and the developing world. It is carried out according to the criteria of observing human rights, rule of law and good governance, which guarantee the mobilisation of adequate civil potential and ensure lasting results of the sustainable development process.
“Multiannual Development Cooperation Programme for 2016-2020” specifies goals, thematic and geographic priorities of Polish development cooperation and defines its basic principles and forms of granting assistance through bilateral and multilateral channels. The programme takes into account challenges facing the Polish system of development cooperation concerning the global and regional-scale changes. The purpose of the introduced modifications is further strenghtening of effectiveness and efficiency of Polish development cooperation.
The thematic priorities of Polish development cooperation constitute an answer to development needs voiced by the priority countries. The envisaged activities fit in with the efforts of the international community in the field of further powerty reduction throughout the world and ensuring inclusive and sustainable development based on recognition of democratic principles, human rights and good governance.
Polish development cooperation will focus on supporting the following thematic priorities:
- good governance – in particular regional development, including the strengthening of local governments, decentralisation; public security and civil protection sector; enhancing the competences and capacities of public administration; reinforcing the rule of law and combating corruption; harmonising laws and institutions with EU and other international standards; access to reliable and objective information; independent media;
- democracy and human rights – in particular democratic electoral process; human rights and civic freedoms; bolstering civic society organisations, civic dialogue;
- human capital – in particular improving healthcare quality; inclusive education and universal access to quality education; civic education; social integration of people from groups at risk of exclusion;
- entrepreneurship and the private sector – in particular competitive and innovative micro and small enterprises; social economy; entrepreneurship, especially among women and young people; education and vocational training;
- sustainable agriculture and rural development – in particular food safety; efficient and competitive agricultural production; access to markets; use of modern technologies in agriculture; modernising local infrastructure;
- environmental protection – in particular renewable energy sources; energy efficiency; water management; waste management; addressing fallout of natural and man-made disasters; promoting sustainable development; preventing climate change and tackling its consequences; protecting natural resources.
In the years 2016-2020 operations of Polish development cooperation will focus on a fewer number of geographical and thematic priorities compared to the “Multiannual Development Cooperation Programme for 2012-2015”. The concentration of support is expected to yield results in form of increased effectiveness and influence of Polish development cooperation within the available financial and organizational resources.
The “Multiannual Development Cooperation Programme for 2016-2020” names ten priority countries, including four Eastern Partnership states: Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and the Ukraine, and six countries from Africa, Asia and the Middle East: Ethiopia, Kenya, Myanmar, Palestine, Senegal and Tanzania.
In practice, bilateral assistance is implemented through specific development projects financed by funds at the disposal of the MFA and the budgets of other ministries. Projects financed by the MFA are selected either through annual calls for proposals addressed to NGOs, central and local government institutions, universities and research institutes, or through a non-competitive procedure for central government institutions and their subordinate units. Polish diplomatic missions are also involved in supporting the development of partner countries through implementation of projects in cooperation with local partners under the Small Grants System. These generally include measures to achieve the Millennium Development Goals of great significance to local communities (e.g. renovation and retrofitting of public utility buildings such as schools, hospitals and libraries). Development cooperation measures may be delegated to the Solidarity Fund PL (until 2013 operating as the Polish Foundation for International Cooperation for Development “Know-How”).
Multilateral assistance is provided through specialised international organisations and institutions. Every year Poland supports development and humanitarian measures of selected organisations (primarily the EU, the UN and the OECD) through annual dues and voluntary contributions. In this way Poland co-finances projects and programmes focusing on poverty reduction, systemic transformation, promotion of human rights and democracy, combating contagious diseases, improving health care and access to education, and humanitarian assistance provided to the victims of natural disasters and conflicts in developing countries.
Multilateral assistance represents over 75% of the total funds allocated by Poland to development cooperation. The largest portion of this assistance is Poland’s contribution to the EU general budget, which is in part spent on EU aid measures. The second largest is the contribution to the non-budget European Development Fund, to which Poland has paid dues since 2011. This fund allows the EU to support the development of African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (the so-called ACP countries).
The MFA partners with international organisations in its multilateral development cooperation, such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development as well as the United Nations and its agencies.