Act on Development co-operation approved by the Polish Parliament
Poland's participation in international development co-operation and the effective implementation of the foreign aid programme are new areas for Polish foreign policy, which were not covered by complex legislation so far.
The Act, aprroved on 16th of September 2011 defines Polish foreign aid activities in the field of foreign policy, including:
- strengthening and supporting democracy and the civil society idea
- Polish development aid
The adoption of the act was necessary for the following reasons:
- the need to provide a proper development aid co-ordination mechanism (in accordance with EU requirements)
- the need to create an effective financial mechanism
- the creation of a transparent legal and institutional framework
- the need to introduce and apply solutions adopted and tested in other developed countries
This will guarantee the continuity of Polish development policy and the effective implementation of the adopted goals.
Adoption of the Guidelines for the Draft Act on Development Co-operation
On February 15, 2011, the Council of Ministers adopted the Guidelines for the Draft Act on Development Co-operation. Inter-ministry consultations have brought the following solutions to issues of key significance from the point of view of implementing development co-operation:
firstly, funds allocated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs towards the implementation of development co-operation tasks will be partly included in the budget section "45-Foreign affairs and Poland's membership of the European Union," while the remaining funds will remain part of the state budget target reserve;
secondly, target reserve funds will finance projects implemented by public finance sector entities and foreign diplomatic post projects in the form of "small grants," as well as projects where the implementation period does not exceed one financial year;
thirdly, funds remaining within the Ministry's budget will finance, among other things, competitions organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for multi-annual projects;
fourthly, the implementation of activities supporting civil society, independent media, democratic institutions and the rule of law, as well as promoting the protection of human rights and freedoms will be commissioned to an external entity: the Polish Foundation for International Development Cooperation "Know-How", which will conduct a re-granting of the abovementioned funds. Funds transferred to the Foundation may be expanded using funds received from Polish and international entities.
In the form adopted by the Council of Ministers, the Guidelines for the Draft Act on Development Co-operation provide solutions and instruments necessary for the effective implementation of development aid. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will have greater flexibility in allocating development co-operation funds than in the case of the current system, which is based only on the target reserve. The establishment of a Development Co-operation Programme Council as an advisory body to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will enable the day-to-day co-ordination of actions conducted in this field by state administration and social partners. The five-year development co-operation programmes, on the other hand, will guarantee the long-term character and coherence of development cooperation by defining the goals and geographic priorities of Polish foreign aid. The Guidelines for the Draft Act will serve as the basis for the draft Act on Development Co-operation, which the MFA then plans to put before the Council of Ministers at the outset of April 2011. The next stage will consist in taking the draft act to parliament.