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  • 17 February 2017

    “We want to raise spending on development aid, so as to achieve 0.3 per cent of GNI, the level recommended by the OECD,” Deputy Foreign Minister for Development Cooperation Joanna Wronecka told PAP. She pointed out that development aid can be used as an instrument to pursue “Poland’s global interests.”

    According to a review issued on Tuesday by the OECD Development Assistance Committee, Poland should increase its spending on development co-operation to reach 0.33% per cent of gross national income (GNI) by 2030.

     

    Asked by PAP about the OECD’s review, the deputy minister noted that currently Poland provides development assistance worth 0.1 per cent of GNI, but it wants to boost these funds. “We have an ambitious goal of reaching 0.3 (per cent of GNI) by 2030, because that is what all reports by the OECD and other organisations recommend. We hope we can make it,” Minister Wronecka said.

     

     

     

     

     

    At the same time, she explained that “providers of development aid function in the context of a volatile international environment, and must adjust their assistance to the needs of their policies.”

     

    Discussing the role of development cooperation in Polish policy, Wronecka pointed to its ethical and solidarity dimension. “The first word that appears is above all solidarity, willingness to share with others what we have, regardless of whether we are rich or poor people or countries. I think the idea of solidarity is very much present among the public and also guides our foreign policy,” she said. “In providing assistance, it’s what goes around comes around,” she noted.

     

    She added that development assistance is also about fulfilling obligations to which Poland has committed itself, including those towards the United Nations.

     

    The deputy minister observed that by engaging in development cooperation, we also pursue Polish interests. In this context, she noted that Poland “has specialized” in reinforcing security, the rule of law, stability and human rights, and our country is active mainly in Central and Eastern Europe and in countries such as Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova and Georgia. “We think that here we can make creative contributions,” she said.

     

    Wronecka added that development aid serves Polish interests also in other parts of the world, by consolidating and promoting its positive image. In her opinion, activity in this field may - indirectly – support Poland’s bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2018-2019 term and benefit the country’s economy.

     

    “Apart from the possibility to strengthen our image, which is the easiest thing to say, it helps advance global interests of our country. Hence the benefits, not only in pursuing our ideals, but also in terms of promoting Polish ideas, economy, culture, all the things that are related to our country,” said deputy head of the MFA.

     

    According to the minister, aid may also be used to “activate” contacts with a given country. “The development aid is a kind of first step,” she noted. “Later, it may for example provide basis for getting Polish companies on board,” she said, adding another argument in favour of granting development aid by Poland, namely the fact that it helps build the country’s international prestige.

     

    Deputy Minister Wronecka, who is also in charge of the MFA’s Africa and Middle East policy, mentioned in this context that she has recently held numerous meetings with African politicians. “I was very glad to hear that we are well perceived, we are regarded as a country that can forge relations based on partnership in order to bring some food for thought that is useful for these countries at a given moment,” she said.

     

    At the same time, the minister stated that it is necessary to raise awareness among “both the public opinion and all state institutions,” about the benefits of development assistance.

     

    “So our role is to write proper analyses, use suitable arguments and quote good examples,” said the deputy minister. “I believe that by adopting a comprehensive approach to this process, we will be able to prove that providing development aid is the right thing to do,” Minister Wronecka added.

     

    Poland joined the OECD Development Assistance Committee in 2013. The committee numbers 29 members, including the EU. Poland channels nearly 80 per cent of its assistance via international organizations, mainly in the form of fixed contributions to the EU budget. 

     

    Source: PAP

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