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Debate on the future of the development cooperation

“From Afghanistan to Zambia – what will development cooperation after 2015 look like?” - was the title of a conference held on 21 January at the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw.

The Conference was attended by guests from Poland and abroad. It was an occasion to discuss the present and future shape of the international development policy, including the involvement in development aid of its greatest donor, i.e. the European Union, as well as that of countries such as Poland, which in spite of various internal challenges, participate increasingly more actively in the international discussion on development cooperation.

Mrs. Marjeta Jager, Deputy Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, was a special guest of the Conference. She recounted, among other things, the course of the promotional activities carried out in the EU Member States under the European Year for Development, completed in December.

The “Prospects for Development Cooperation in the 21st Century” panel, held in the forenoon, was attended by: Mrs. Joanna Wronecka, Under Secretary of State for Development Cooperation and the African and Middle East Policy, His Excellency Mr. Bwalya S.K. Chiti, Ambassador of the Republic of Zambia in Poland, Mrs. Marina Wes, Representative of the World Bank in Poland, Mrs. Mariola Ratschka, acting Director of the UN Information Center in Warsaw.

The discussion focused, among other things, on the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 established for the coming years. The participants discussed also the current problems faced by Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, arising from an unprecedented scale of population movements resulting from armed conflicts, destabilization of states and international terrorism.

During the debate, in which their views were exchanged by the panelists and the other participants, the view prevailed that even a partial implementation of the Millennium Development Goals bodes well for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. As underlined by Minister Joanna Wronecka, “Poland will strive to increase its official contribution to ODA to 0.33% of gross national income (GNI) by 2030, in line with the position of the Government of the Republic of Poland adopted in 2015”.  During the discussion the belief prevailed that the problem of international terrorism will be dealt with more effectively through increasingly better international cooperation on the part of the states and governments concerned.  

The afternoon panel devoted to issues related to the European Union and Poland in the context of international development cooperation was attended by Mrs. Dorota Panczyk-Piqueray, an analyst at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, Mrs. Zuzanna Kierzkowska, Director of the Development Cooperation Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Jan Szczyciński involved in the UN Development Program, Mr. Jan Bazyl, Executive Director in the Zagranica Group, and Mr. Prof. Dr. hab. Andrzej Gąsowski of the Institute of Political Science, the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw.

This part of the Conference was dominated by a discussion on the directions of development aid provided by Poland and other European states. Mrs. Zuzanna Kierzkowska drew attention to those goals and directions of Polish foreign policy as well as security issues in individual African countries, which were important determinants of the ultimate directions of development aid provided by Poland. Questions asked by the Conference participants concerned, among others, operational problems faced on the spot by organizations implementing development projects. Mr. Jan Bazyl pointed to an important role of global education in the process of shaping social awareness of the need for development aid.  The discussion concerned also the motivations and goals of development aid – the panelists unanimously agreed that these should be primarily striving to reduce poverty and to respect the values of democracy and human rights.

The problem of migration and refugees was also strongly emphasized in the statements made by the participants. At the end of the panel discussion, an attempt was made to identify the main problems and challenges in the area of development cooperation. These are, on the one hand, the lack of sufficient funds to provide aid to all in need, and on the other hand, the humanitarian crisis on a scale not seen in global terms since World War II.

The last part of the Conference comprised of open academic panels, such as the Millennium Development Goals – an assessment attempt; challenges faced by the EU development policy; the cultural aspect of development cooperation; and Polish development policy in the context of the Millennium and Post-Millennium Goals.

The Conference held at the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw was organized by: the European Commission Representation in Poland, the Institute of Political Science at the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw and the Collegium Interethinicum Foundation. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was the honorary patron of the Conference.

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