Polish Development Assistance - Independent research conducted by NGOs

We recommend the report "Polish Development Assistance - Independent research conducted by non-governmental organizations", elaborated by Zagranica Group.

Why the report is worth reading?

Far form the spotlight and on the margin of the mainstream of Polish politics there is a process going on whose results – both for Poland and for other countries – will be more significant than many current events attracting public attention. Poland has joined the group of the countries pursuing their own development policy, i.e. a policy aiming to support less economically developed countries, and for that reason is building its potential for helping these countries.

The elements of this process are: · spectacular increase in financial resources – approx. 1 billion PLN in 2006 – allocated from the national budget for supporting developing countries;

· related capacity building;

· great activity of non-governmental organizations working in this field.

It is worth looking into this process, particularly when it is being forged because the determination of a particular practice will have long-term implications.

Up to now the process of elaboration of Polish development policy has been observed mainly by small academic circles in the country and foreign institutions – both governmental and nongovernmental – but in practice the major source of data and their analyses has been official reports published by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). There were no independent nongovernmental interpretations of the information about Polish foreign assistance that would present both strengths and weaknesses of Polish aid and represent the closest possible position to those who are the most important in the whole process – aid recipients.

The present publication will contribute to filling this gap as it is the first report compiled by Polish non-governmental organizations and encompassing the totality of Polish development aid.

The need to have an independent analysis of Polish assistance is justified by a series of arguments. We will enumerate the most evident ones.

Firstly, financial resources allocated for foreign aid come from the national budget and should be subject to control by citizens in terms of purposefulness and spending efficiency. State-owned controlling bodies specialize in monitoring public spending, but for evident reasons they have no background and experience to assess impact of Polish aid and particular projects on the societies of other continents.

Secondly, Polish foreign assistance stems not only from a sense of responsibility for the fate of the world but also from international commitments. Independent monitoring of Polish aid can bridge a gap between expectations of the citizens and concrete agreements made by Poland on the international arena. Therefore the control exercised by the civil society strengthens democratic legitimization of the actions taken by the public administration bodies and in parallel fosters the fulfilment of international commitments.

Thirdly, quality of aid delivered shapes the image of our country in the world. An independent analysis from the perspective close to that of aid recipients will help pinpoint successes and shortcomings of Polish development co-operation in a way the societies receiving aid see it. It can thus minimize the risk of failed actions and enhance the assets of Polish aid.

Fourthly, monitoring of Polish Official Development Assistance (ODA) enhances its quality. NGOs often have indispensable experience which makes it possible to go beyond quantitative analysis and try to evaluate to what extent Polish aid offers something creative and fully useful to aid recipient countries. An independent analysis should increase quality of aid both at the level of implementation of particular projects and at the level of determining aid objectives and priorities.

The authors of the publication are aware that the report is merely an introduction to fulfilling the above-mentioned tasks of the civil society in the area of monitoring Polish assistance as the subject is dynamic and as new to NGOs as to other bodies involved in Polish aid. The methods of collecting and analyzing data are not yet fully developed and the process of elaborating this report provided an occasion to gain the first experiences. Because of the report’s pioneering character it does not cover all key issues needed for a complete analysis and can present some shortcomings. The authors plan to minimize these through publication of possible supplements on the website of Zagranica Group – www.zagranica.org.pl. Therefore readers are encouraged to use this site as an important source of information, opinions and verifications of the data related to Polish development assistance.

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Nasi Partnerzy Amani Kibera Instytut Globalnej Odpowiedzialności Counter Balance Polska Akcja Humanitarna Grupa Zagranica Bankwatch Network Polska Zielona Sieć