As part of a public-private partnership with Ptak Warsaw Expo, a fair and congress centre, and Lubawa S.A., the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is preparing Poland’s first humanitarian fair in Nadarzyn near Warsaw on 11-13 June 2019. President Andrzej Duda took the honorary patronage of the event thus raising its rank. Humanitarian fairs are organised in several countries. The best known ones are in Dubai (DIHAD), Brussels, and London. But it is the Warsaw expo that is will be quite unique. First, it will provide an opportunity to showcase the potential of Polish (but not only) businesses and NGOs whose product and service offerings could be used in a broad range of humanitarian activities or development projects. The conference accompanying the expo will facilitate an in-depth discussion about the engagement of business in humanitarian and development assistance, an understanding of global trends, including best practices in this area, as well as an exchange of ideas on possible forms of involvement.
A “Humanitarian City” set up for these days will make it possible to present the giant market of development and humanitarian assistance represented by international organisations (mainly of the UN system), the European Union, but also by Polish and international NGOs active in this field. Representatives of the European Commission, FAO, WFP, UNICEF, UNDP, and the International Red Cross responsible for procurement and tender procedures at these organisations for the purposes of development and humanitarian projects will share their knowledge of how best to take part in them, how to prepare for them, what to look for, and where to learn about them.
Poland has consistently built its development and humanitarian assistance capacity for more than two decades. For many years, we used to be an aid recipient ourselves. Our country has been transformed from being a beneficiary to a donor. In 2017, Poland spent over PLN 2.5 billion on Official Development Assistance. In the past three years, our humanitarian aid spending has increased almost ninefold, from PLN 20 to 174 million.
Although Poland is a relatively new donor of development assistance, there are areas where we can share our know-how and expertise. These primarily include strengthening civil society in partner countries — measures for children and people with disabilities and at risk of exclusion.
One of the most important features of Poland’s development assistance system is its very close cooperation with public benefit organisations, i.e. broadly understood NGOs. But today we would also like to engage the corporate sector in the system on a larger scale than before. But talking business into charitable activities is not our goal. That is up to each entrepreneur to decide. We want Polish businesses to realise that the development and humanitarian assistance sector is a gigantic market in economic terms. In addition, building a corporate brand is about being present in this market and developing modern solutions, innovative ideas, and responsible corporate policies that include elements of responsibility for global issues: development and humanitarian assistance. If a company wants to do global business and operate in foreign markets, it will be expected to show involvement in this area sooner or later.