In accordance with the guidelines of the OECD Development Assistance Committee, technical assistance consists in the transfer of know-how to developing countries. For years, Poland has been sharing knowledge about the planning and implementation of economic and political reforms (the Polish experience in this field is particularly interesting to many countries), economic, social and institutional transformations, and experiences relating to the process of European integration. As part of projects implemented by government agencies, local government units and NGOs, Poland funds studies, scholarships, trainings and fellowships for nationals of countries receiving official development assistance, provides expert support and commissions the development of analyses.
The key segments of the Polish technical cooperation include:
- government scholarship programs
In 2009, 4,337 students and 417 graduate students and trainees were provided with free education in Poland. The largest group were citizens of Belarus and the Ukraine. The costs amounted to over PLN 33 million, and the value of grants paid by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education exceeded PLN 17 million. The amounts included the operating costs of the Konstanty Kalinowski Scholarship Programme implemented since 2006 for students from Belarus. It provides an opportunity to study at Polish universities for people who cannot study at their home universities for political reasons.
Additional scholarships for nationals of developing countries are financed by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. In 2009, the cost of scholarships disbursed by the Ministry of Health amounted to almost PLN 700 thousand, and the largest group of beneficiaries were the citizens of Belarus (51 people). The Minister of Culture and National Heritage earmarked over PLN 90 thousand for scholarships. The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage also funded the participation of artists from Armenia, Belarus and the Ukraine in the "Gaude Polonia" programme implemented by the National Cultural Centre.
The "Nieśwież Academy" International Postgraduate Summer School, established in 1995, trains college graduates from the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, who professionaly deal with the protection and preservation of historical monuments.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides training courses for young diplomats from developing countries, organised in cooperation with the Diplomatic Academy of the Polish Institute of International Affairs. In 2009, foreign service personnel from Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan and the Ukraine participated in the training (the fifth edition). The Development Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides SENSE trainings (Strategic Economic Needs and Security Exercise) for representatives of high-level state administration in the countries that are on the verge of political, economic and social transformation; in 2009, the main objective of the training was to strengthen the government of Belarus, to promote reforms and the principles for good governance at national and local levels. The project was included in the Polish activities implemented in countries covered by the Eastern Partnership.
In 2009, the Central Board of Prison Service coming under the Ministry of Justice implemented a training on the penitentiary system in Poland for the citizens of Iraq. The initiative was included in the activities of the EUJUST LEX civil mission, whose aim is to strengthen the operational cooperation between all institutions of justice in Iraq.
Under Resolution of the Council of Ministers No. 220/2007, the Polish European Union Police Mission in Afghanistan (EUPOL Afghanistan) was established. The purpose of the mission is monitoring, advising, mentoring and training of the Afghan police. In 2009, Polish police coming under to the Ministry of the Interior and Administration sent three officers to work in this mission.
For two years, an important component of technical assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the Polish Aid Volunteering Programme, which allows the direct involvement of citizens in assistance targeted to people in developing countries. In 2009, in the second edition of the programme, 25 volunteers implemented projects in six Latin American countries (Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Mexico and Peru), in six countries in Africa (Ethiopia, Ghana, Mauritania, Niger, Tanzania and Zambia) and Asia (Bangladesh and Tajikistan) and in Georgia.
- expert support
In 2009, the Teacher Training Centre (since 2010 - the Centre for Educational Development) launched a pilot project entitled "Leaders of educational initiatives", which was a response to the needs reported by the Ukrainian party relating to raising the quality of schools, professional development of teachers and the equalisation of educational opportunities.
The right to host the European Football Championship EURO 2012 obtained by Poland and the Ukraine was an incentive to launch projects in the field of tourism development and security of mass events.
In 2009, Polish financial institutions also joined the implementation of initiatives relating to technical assistance. The National Bank of Poland funded seminars, workshops, study visits and internships for employees of the banking sector in selected developing countries. It organised expert visits involving economic education for employees of central banks in Tunisia, Serbia, Belarus, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan and Vietnam. The expenditure incurred in 2009 was over PLN 350 thousand.
Study visits for representatives of partner countries were organised by the Ministry of Finance and its subordinate customs administration. The participants from Belarus acquainted themselves with the Polish training and customs system, the participants from Kazakhstan had an opportunity to learn about the programs to combat drug trafficking, and the visit for the guests from the Ukraine was focused on the transit procedures.
The State Agency for Information and Foreign Investment in cooperation with the Ministry of the Treasury implemented the project called "Supporting the development of market institutions of the Republic of Belarus".
The Chancellery of the Sejm was also involved in the provision of technical assistance by covering in 2009 the costs of participation of trainees from the Ukraine and Mongolia in the International Parliamentary Internship Programme. The programme, launched in 2007, offers participants an opportunity to learn about the Sejm procedures and the mechanisms of taking political decisions applied in Poland.