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Multilateral assistance

General information

Multilateral assistance is assistance provided through international institutions. It consists in making contributions to multilateral assistance funds and programmes. Poland is only starting to gain experience in providing assistance to other countries, which is why transferring development funds to specialised international institutions allows us to take advantage of their organisational and logistic potential, and thus increase the effectiveness of our aid. We want to have the possibility of getting more involved than we have done so far in projects implemented by organisations supporting the reduction of poverty, economic and social development of the least developed countries, and the development of democracy and the civil society.

Every year, contributions towards multilateral funds, organizations, and development and humanitarian aid programmes are financed from a special purpose budget reserve managed by the MFA. Additional resources are transferred to international organizations operating aid programmes via other ministries, including the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of the Environment, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. 

Transferring a payment to the European Union development budget is the main channel of multilateral assistance flow. It is a part of an annual contribution allotted to the EU general budget. The amount of these funds is an offshoot of a share of the EU budgetary expenses directed to development assistance provided to third countries, which in accordance with the OECD Development Assistance Committee is classified as the ODA.

In addition to the European Union, other important channels of Poland's multilateral assistance are the United Nations System institutions and the World Bank Group. The largest number of institutions pursuing those objectives operates within the framework of the United Nations System. Thanks to their long-standing presence in the most needy countries, the United Nations' agencies, programmes and funds have extensive knowledge on the actual needs of given places in the world and a have a broad capacity for providing assistance. By making assistance contributions to those institutions (assistance in the multilateral form), we can be sure that we are supporting the most important initiatives from the point of view of individual beneficiaries.

Multilateral contributions


Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development – Development Assistance Committee (OECD – DAC)

Organisation for Economic Cooperaration and Development with its seat in Paris was born in 1961, taking upon the issues of global economic and social development. It supports the policies and actions that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. Today, the OECD has 34 members, which include many of the world’s most advanced countries, but also emerging states like Turkey, Chile and Mexico. The European Union (formally, under the label of European Commission) participates in the meetings and measures of the OECD and its executives, but without the right to vote on decisions.

Development Assistance Committee (DAC) is a body of OECD whose task is to figure out the standards of providing assistance to developing countries and maximizing the effectiveness of such assistance. It serves as a dialogue forum on the development cooperation, enabling the usage of experiences of the partners, and helping to form programmes of development cooperation. With this aim in mind, the Committee:

  • accepts the policy guidelines and recommendations in the area of development assistance;
  • conducts an assessment (in peer review formula) of local assistance programmes of particular members;
  • publishes statistics and reports in the area of development cooperation.

As part of the Committee there are currently nine accessory organs (task forces) that take care of particular areas of development cooperation on the professional level.

Once a year DAC High Level Meeting is organized, in order to define a general direction of the OECD countries’ policies in the range of the development cooperation, and discuss the most important issues influencing the development cooperation on a global scale.

Moreover, DAC Senior Level Meeting is being held annually in order to discuss the current issues on the development cooperation.

Development Co-Operation Directorate OECD supports Development Assistance Committee and provides professional consultancy in the area of development cooperation (such as through providing transparency of data on financing post-development actions).

An OECD Member State willing to become a full Committee member is obliged to satisfy three following conditions:

  • adopt appropriate strategies, policies and measures and institutional arrangements for development cooperation,
  • achieve an acceptable level of granted development aid (reference point: the minimum amount of aid - USD 100 million or development aid benchmark in relation to the gross national income - 0.2%),
  • functioning of the development cooperation programs monitoring and evaluation systems.

Upon joining the Committee the member state is required to carry out all of the adopted guidelines, comply with all the recommendations and provide full statistical data on the volume of granted foreign assistance.

Currently (June 2014), 28 out of 34 OECD members as well as the European Union belong to DAC. Countries that are OECD members, but not Committee members, do not take part in executing decisions on the proceedings of the Committee and its accessory organs. However, they have the right to participate in its proceedings and take part in a discussion accompanying its work. Recently admitted members include: Iceland (March 2013), Czech Republic (May 2013), Slovakia (September 2013), Poland (October 2013) and Slovenia (December 2013). Poland has been a Member State of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development since 1996. From the beginning, it was considered as a highly-developed country. Poland became a member of the OECD's Development Assistance Committee on 22 October 2013.


The United Nations

The United Nations (UN) was established on 24 October 1945 as a result of signing the United Nations Charter on 26 June 1945. Poland is recognized as one of 51 founding countries of this Organization. The purpose of establishing UN was to maintain peace and security as well as to develop the cooperation and friendly relations among nations. Organization has currently 193 member-states, and its main headquarter is in New York.

On the international level, Poland cooperates with several specialized United Nations agencies. The basis of the cooperation is twofold: on the one hand, Poland provides voluntary and obligatory (e.g. membership fees) contributions to the general budgets of particular organizations, and, on the other, transfers contributions earmarked for a specific goal. 


Selected United Nations organizations, funds and programmes


United Nations Development Programme, UNDP 

The UNDP supports a global development network in 166 countries. By providing countries around the world with experience, knowledge and resources to improve their citizens’ lives, the UNDP is involved in developing and promoting local potential and fighting social exclusion.


United Nations Industrial Development Organization, UNIDO 

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization is a specialized UN agency with 173 Member States. Its mission is to promote and accelerate industrialization, sustainable industrial development in developing countries and economies in transition, and to work towards improving living conditions in the world’s poorest countries.


United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, UNCCD 

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification is aimed at limiting the gradual encroachment of this phenomenon in many global regions, as well as alleviating the effects of drought, in particular in Africa, by adapting the long-term strategies supported through international cooperation and partnership agreements.


Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO 

Some of the key objectives of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations are to increase the production, exchange and distribution of agricultural and forest products, to improve living conditions of the rural population, to foster agreements on international trade in agricultural produce, and to provide technical assistance.


Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS, UNAIDS 

The mission of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS is to support the fight against the global epidemic of HIV/AIDS, to prevent HIV infections, to look after people living with HIV/AIDS, and to mitigate the consequences of disease outbreaks.


United Nations Environmental Programme, UNEP 

The United Nations Environmental Programme was established to conduct UN activities in the field of environmental protection and monitoring around the world. Furthermore, it helps developing countries to implement best practices and environmental protection policies.


United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC 

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change lays down the principles for international cooperation in the area of cutting greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global warming.


United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, UN PBC 

The United Nations Peacebuilding Commission works to build peace, as well as rebuild and develop post-conflict countries.


United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, UNICEF 

Established in 1946, the Fund is aimed at fighting poverty, hunger, disasters, sickness, including HIV/AIDS, as well as violence and discrimination towards children. Protecting the Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF covers over 190 countries and regions through national programmes and National Committees.


United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, UNRWA 

The Agency provides education, health care and aid. It supports and protects over 5 million Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Palestinian Autonomy. UNRWA is almost entirely financed from voluntary contributions of UN members.


Central Emergency Response Fund, CERF 

The Central Emergency Response Fund was established in order to provide rapid and comprehensive humanitarian aid to victims of natural disasters and armed conflicts. The Fund is managed by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA). 


United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UN OCHA 

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs was established in order to facilitate coordinated responses to situations of crisis and natural disasters. The Office’s mission is to mobilise the international community, as well as to coordinate the activities of national and international actors in areas affected by armed conflicts and natural disasters. 


The United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination, UNDAC 

Coordinated by UN OCHA, UNDAC is part of the international emergency response system for disasters. UNDAC teams of experts support coordination of humanitarian action in countries affected by sudden-onset disasters and are deployed by OCHA in response to appeals for humanitarian support by the affected countries. 


United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR 

Established in 1950, UNHCR provides help and support to refugees all over the world. Today, UNHCR protects 33.9 million people in over 125 countries. Poland supports UNHCR activities by contributing to its general budget and co-financing UNHCR programmes in response to particular humanitarian crises. 


United Nations World Food Programme, WFP 

The World Food Programme is the largest UN humanitarian aid agency fighting hunger worldwide. The WFP’s mission is to eradicate hunger and malnutrition around the world by helping countries become self-sufficient. The WFP not only ensures immediate relief but also provides long-standing programmes to fight hunger and poverty.
Learn more about the food aid supplied by Poland.


Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)

Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is a successor of Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE), which from the 1970’s was a forum of a dialogue among NATO and Warsaw Pact countries about security, disarmament, economic and scientific cooperation, and respecting human rights. During the summit in Budapest in 1994 a decision was made that CSCE will be transformed into OSCE from 1 January 1995. The objective of the Organization remains strengthening security and co-operation in the following dimensions: human, political and military, economic and environmental. At present OSCE has 57 participating countries from Europe, Central Asia and North America. The OSCE Secretary’s headquarter is in Vienna.

Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), which headquarter is in Warsaw, was established in 1991 and is one of the institutions acting within the scope of OSCE. ODIHR provides support and assistance to promote democracy, rule of law, human rights and tolerance through observing elections, reviewing legislation and advising governments on how to develop and sustain democratic institutions.

Poland co-operates with OSCE in the area of humanitarian actions, observing the process of elections and financing missions carried out by this Organization in developing countries.


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