Poland is Ready to be a More Effective Development Assistance Donor
"Poland is ready to become an even better partner for cooperation in development" - says the head of the OECD's Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC) Charlotte Petri-Gornitzka. She stated this on 14 February at PISM, during the official presentation of the report evaluating Poland’s development aid system. Gornitzka indicated that Poland should first increase expenditure on bilateral assistance, and focus resources on a limited number of countries and sectors which can bring added value.
The report, "OECD Development Cooperation Peer Reviews: Poland 2017", presents the first comprehensive assessment of Polish development assistance, conducted after Poland joined the group of major DAC-OECD donors in 2013. The purpose of this assessment is to identify ways to further improve the effectiveness and efficiency of Poland's development aid. Appreciating recent reforms designed to strengthen the national system of aid, the authors of the report provided 15 recommendations.
Despite the limitations of resources allocated to development aid, Poland’s presence in the group of donors is visible. Poland intends to participate in the implementation of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, by meeting the so-called Sustainable Development Goals (which include the promotion of peace, sustainable development, justice, and effective and credible institutions). There is a clear vision - consistent with international standards - that gradually focuses on a smaller number of countries (eg. Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova) and brings its own unique knowledge, such as in the field of systemic transformation. This assistance is becoming increasingly predictable through the introduction of multi-annual programming and the adoption of appropriate legislation, which provide a strong legal foundation.
During the discussion on the DAC report, experts highlighted possible directions to improve the system of Polish development aid. First of all, Poland should increase resources devoted to development aid to 0.33% of gross national income by 2030, while also ensuring effectiveness of the increased activities. In addition, there is a need to continue the positive changes in the system, such as the concentration on selected beneficiaries, clarification of strategy, improvement of long-term planning, and consistency of activities with the long-term strategy. The government should also strengthen cooperation with NGOs and think tanks, starting at the planning stage and improve communication in the country and abroad, on the importance of development cooperation and Poland’s commitment to ensuring effectiveness of aid. Experts pointed to the global trend of phasing out so-called tied aid (eg. loans for the purchase of goods or services in the donor country), as it is widely perceived as ineffective, and suggested that the Polish government adapt its model to reflect this global trend.
The DAC Report sets out the direction for possible improvement of Polish aid and should help decision-makers, officials and civil society to assess the progress of implemented reforms. The next periodic review of Polish aid takes place in five years, when the DAC will be able to evaluate to what extent its recommendations have been considered.