Polish Development Assistance

Development assistance is a response of developed countries to the problem of poverty that a considerable number of countries in the 21st century face. Poor countries are not capable of developing solely on their own, therefore they rely on assistance offered by other countries and international institutions.

The overcoming of the global development gap is a challenge for today. Hunger and poverty problems require global solutions on the one hand, and the individual involvement of each state on the other.

Official Development Assistance (ODA) consists of donations and loans granted to developing countries by official government institutions of donor states or international organisations whose aim is to support the economic development and well-being of those countries. Loans are qualified as Official Development Assistance only when they include a donation part in the amount constituting at least 25% of the assistance value.

Donations and loans for military purposes are not qualified as Official Development Assistance. Another condition for classifying assistance as Official Development Assistance is the inclusion of the beneficiary country in the list determined by the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC).

The basic forms of development assistance include: assistance in cash, assistance in kind and technical assistance.

Depending on the manner of assistance, we can distinguish bilateral, trilateral and multilateral assistance.

Bilateral assistance is addressed directly to institutions, organisations and people in the beneficiary country. Trilateral assistance consists in providing development assistance in unison with another donor country – Canada is one of the countries with which Poland co-operates in this way. In 2006, within the framework of the Canadian Official Development Assistance in Central Europe, we are financing assistance projects of Polish NGOs and their partners in developing countries together with Canada. Multilateral assistance is provided through international institutions.

In 2005, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had only 18 million PLN allocated for external assistance activities at its disposal. The provision of 85 million PLN for this purpose by the Parliament’s decision in 2006 makes it possible to increase the scope of assistance and further expand the list of entities applying for assistance funds, as well as expand the list of priority countries.

In connection with its membership of the European Union, Poland has undertaken international obligations with regard to the volume of development assistance and its quality. Development assistance funds will be increasing systematically so that Poland can achieve the ratio of the Official Development Assistance to the GNP at the level of 0.17% in 2010, and 0.33% by 2015.

The Act on Polish Development Assistance

Works on the draft of the Act on Polish Development Assistance

Polish collaboration in the international development co-operation and effective implementation of the programme of foreign assistance are new fields of foreign policy which have not been yet covered by exhaustive legislation. In the MFA the works on the draft of the act have already commenced. It will define Poland’s foreign assistance as activities pertaining to the realm of foreign policy that will include:

* enhancing and promoting of democracy and civil society building * Polish development assistance

The works on and the approval of the act are indispensable due to the following reasons:

* the need to assure properly co-ordinated development assistance (in compliance with the requirements of the EU) * the need to create effective and efficient financial mechanism * creating clear institutional and legal frame * the necessity to implement and apply solutions successfully tested in other developed countries. This will guarantee the continuity of the Polish development policy and effective achievement of the set goals.

New strategy for Polish foreign assistance

The decision to initiate works on the new strategy for Polish foreign assistance has been made in relation to expanding the scope of Polish activities undertaken in the field of foreign assistance (traditionally limited to development assistance sensu stricto), so that it also includes activities promoting democracy in Eastern European countries. Some new international circumstances have also come to existence, namely closer co-operation between the EU and the OECD in the field of development assistance programming and combining efforts to increase its efficiency. These new circumstances make us change the existing approach to the development assistance activities.

The new strategy applies to the years 2007-2013. The most crucial elements of this strategy are the following:

* aims of Poland’s development assistance * instruments to achieve these aims * financing of Poland’s foreign assistance * forms of assistance and its priorities * decisions about co-operation with other donor countries * decisions about education and promotion of international development issues in Poland.

See also:

* Polish aid: How we work,

* Polish aid 2006 - Activities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Information taken from: http://www.polskapomoc.gov.pl/Main,page,160.html

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