Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 02/2012

Polish Development Cooperation: A Turning Point

Patryk Kugiel

August 2011

The Polish Institute of International Affairs


Polish development cooperation system is entering the final stage of its recalibration. Poland is about to get equipped with necessary legislative apparatus that will solidify the process of gradual conceptual and organizational shift in the way that the Polish aid is being disbursed. The author argues that a swift adoption of the New Act on Development Cooperation—preferably, before the end of the current parliamentary term—is necessary if Poland wants to play a prominent role in the development arena. Even so, there are at least two fundamental dilemmas undergirding the current debate on Poland’s development cooperation that still need to be addressed. First, Polish aid is heavily tilted towards eastern Europe—an understandable, yet potentially troublesome fact considering Poland’s obligations as an international donor to the least developed countries, especially in Africa. Second, Poland needs to reconcile or otherwise rethink what should be the focal point of its aid agenda—democracy or development. Apart from that, aid has to be put on a sound financial footing—adequate resources are indispensable for impactful development projects, and speak of Poland’s credibility as a partner in development cooperation.