The European Year for Development gave Poland and other EU Member States a unique opportunity to draw more public attention to development aid. In 2015, owing to the military conflicts in Ukraine, the Middle East, and Africa, as well as the tragedy of the earthquake in Nepal, the public focused on the issues of humanitarian aid. Information campaigns, undertaken as part of the EYD, often served as an inspiration for citizens to get creatively involved in development and humanitarian aid.
Poland’s EYD-related activities were coordinated by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The main initiative of the MFA in that area was the Development Cooperation Day, held at the Krakowskie Przedmiescie in Warsaw on 27 September 2015. The Global Education Town created on that occasion attracted more than 7,000 people, who could learn how Poland assisted developing countries. In cooperation with Polish institutions and non-governmental organisations involved in development cooperation, a town was arranged with elements typical of diverse areas of the world – a school, shop, women’s club, or hospital. The event was preceded by an educational campaign on public television (35 million views), which also broadcast live coverage from the town itself on three TV channels: TVP 1, TVP Info, and regional TVP channels (a total of nearly 1.9 million viewers).
As part of a regional initiative of the Visegrad Group (V4), arts and photography contests were organised on the theme of development, and the winning pieces were presented in V4 countries. The Polish photography contest, titled “Lens on Development”, attracted more than 900 proposals. The jury’s verdict was announced on 3 December during a gala hosted by Martyna Wojciechowska, editor-in-chief of National Geographic Polska, co-organiser of the contest.
Supported by the MFA, the HumanDOC International Film Festival “Global Development in Cinema”, already the sixth edition of the festival devoted to the theme of developing countries, involved film shows in ten cities across Poland. The shows attracted a total of ca. 7,600 viewers, and the number of views at the Kinoplex digital platform, where the awarded films were made availabe free of charge, is estimated at another 10,000.
The activities implemented by the MFA were accompanied by a broad-based information campaign. This involved the publication of a total of more than 420,000 copies of publications, articles, and leaflets on development. The number of visitors to the website www.polskapomoc.gov.pl between 1 January and 1 December 2015 exceeded 70,000 users, while another 30,000 visited the website of the Centre for Education Development, one of the partners of the initiative http://www.edukacjaglobalna.ore.edu.pl/.
The positive reception of the idea of development cooperation, and the active participation of the youth in EYD events, are a good forecast for the EU initiative “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. The joint success of the EU, its Member States and civil societies, and especially non-governmental organisations, should become the foundation for the further development of global education and for supporting the measures to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.
In line with the Conclusions of the Council on the achievements of the European Year for Development 2015, the further involvement of the EU and its Member States in providing information on EU development policies will be based on the following imperatives: Build on partnerships and engage new stakeholders beyond the development community; Address young people; Put people at the centre; Be interactive; Be fact-based; and Keep the spirit of the EYD.