In 2011, Poland’s humanitarian aid amounted to PLN 15.0 million. Polish humanitarian aid was addressed to humanitarian crises in Turkey, Pakistan, Libya, Horn of Africa, Afghanistan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, South Sudan and Myanmar. Additionally, core contributions were made to support international humanitarian organizations.
Ważniejsze regiony działań humanitarnych w 2011 r.
Poland’s humanitarian aid amounted to PLN 3 million, including PLN 1 million for the Polish medical missions in Misrata and Benghazi. Moreover, the MFA, in cooperation with co-financed projects for Libyan refugees implemented by UNHCR, UNICEF and the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Cairo.
Horn of Africa
The total cost of Poland’s humanitarian aid in response to the famine in the region amounted to PLN 2.5 million. Poland contributed twice in response to the food crisis, with funds attributed to the UN OCHA Common Humanitarian Fund for Somalia (PLN 1 million), and to the International Committee of the Red Cross (PLN 1 million). What is more, Polish Centre for International Aid Foundation conducted a humanitarian project financed by the MFA (PLN 0.5 million) that aimed at provision of cooking sets to the Somali refugee camp in Dabaab, Kenya.
The youngest country in the world is witnessing a chronic humanitarian crisis. Poland’s contribution in response to this crisis in 2011 amounted to PLN 1.1 million and focused on the education programme for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and returnees. The programme was conducted by the UNHCR.
Poland’s contribution to the Turkish Red Crescent amounted to PLN 0.5 million and was used to support victims of the earthquake in the Van region in eastern Turkey.
Other humanitarian actions
The food crisis in the Horn of Africa in 2011 led to an intensification of the political debate, as well as humanitarian and development actions, in order to strengthen disaster resilience.
In the framework of 2011 bilateral assistance, the MFA co-financed disaster risk reduction (DRR) and resilience building projects selected in the 2011 Development Cooperation contest – 8 such projects were conducted in Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The projects were operated by non-governmental organizations and fire academies in cooperation with State Fire Service units.
Moreover, in 2011 Poland was actively engaged in DRR and resilience advocacy:
- In July 2011, DRR and ‘disaster preparedness’ were defined as the priorities of the Polish-German co-chairmanship in the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD); in September 2011 in Geneva, Poland organized workshops concerning DRR in the Eastern Partnership countries. DRR and resilience were also introduced to the GHD agenda (mainly through the opening of a new workstream named PDR4 – Preparedness, Disaster Risk Reduction, Response and Resilience).
- The topic of DRR and resilience was actively promoted during the Polish presidency of the EU Council in the context of food crisis in the Horn of Africa (e.g. during the ECOSOC meeting in Geneva, the visit of Minister Stanowski and Commissioner Georgieva in Dabaab, the informal meeting of the EU Council Working Party COHAFA in November 2011). In August 2011, a letter on behalf of Minister Sikorski was sent to High Representative C. Ashton and commissioners A. Piebalgs and K. Georgieva drawing their attention to resilience matters and better coordination of EU actions in response to the famine in the Horn of Africa.
Multilateral humanitarian policy
Working Party on Humanitarian Aid and Food Aid (COHAFA)
In the framework of the presidency of the EU Council, Poland chaired the meetings of the Working Party on Humanitarian Aid and Food Aid (COHAFA). COHAFA aims to develop humanitarian recommendations in relation to sudden-onset and protracted crises. It works to implement the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid.
On the eve of the official declaration of famine in Somalia, on 18 July 2011 Poland’s presidency summoned an extraordinary COHAFA meeting with the most important humanitarian organizations (UNICEF, UNHCR, ICRC, MSF, Oxfam) calling for support for the victims of the crisis affecting the Horn of Africa.
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA)
UN OCHA plays a crucial role in coordinating international humanitarian aid. Apart from the core contribution, Poland supported its activities by co-financing its office in Myanmar. Moreover, for the first time in history, Poland supported a Common Humanitarian Fund managed by UN OCHA in response to the famine in Somalia. Furthermore, Poland is part of the United Nations Disaster and Assessment Coordination (UNDAC) in the framework of which UN OCHA deploys well-trained national experts to humanitarian missions. In 2011, Poland has also contributed PLN 0.9 million to the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) administered by UN OCHA.
Negotiations on the humanitarian resolution in the UN General Assembly
From September until December 2011, Poland and Kenya led negotiations on the UNGA humanitarian resolution 66/120 entitled “Strengthening humanitarian assistance, emergency relief and rehabilitation in response to the severe drought in the Horn of Africa region".. The UN General Assembly adopted the resolution on 15 December 2011.
Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD)
Good Humanitarian Donorship is an international initiative of humanitarian aid donor countries. In 2007, Poland became part of the initiative by adopting the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid. Its aim is to develop mechanisms implementing 23 Good Humanitarian Donorship principles.
In July 2011, Poland and Germany launched their one-year co-chairmanship of the GHD. The two countries focused on promoting deeper involvement of donor countries in initiatives concerning Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Preparedness. In September 2011, in order to achieve this goal, the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Poland to the UN in Geneva organized workshops on DRR in the Eastern Partnership countries.
 Including humanitarian contributions to ICRC and WFP actions in Afghanistan and projects financed in the framework of the “2011 Development Cooperation” contest related to Disaster Risk Reduction.
 DRR (Disaster Risk Reduction) – consists of reducing risk connected with both natural disasters (e.g. earthquakes, floods, draughts, cyclones) and man-made catastrophes. It aims, among other things, to reduce socio-economic vulnerability to disaster, introduce reasonable management of land and natural resources, and improve the local authority response to disaster. These actions are often referred to as Disaster Resilience Building.
 United Nations General Assembly humanitarian resolution 66/120 “Strengthening humanitarian assistance, emergency relief and rehabilitation in response to the severe drought in the Horn of Africa region”.