Thursday, 20 February 2014

News from the Polish NGO Platform Grupa Zagranica

The Istanbul Principles in Grupa Zagranica 
Since 2012 Grupa Zagranica (GZ) has been working on the standards of activities, responding to one of the main objectives of the platform, which is to build an efficient and competent CSO sector in Poland, which effectively supports the development of less affluent countries.

In the first quarter of 2014, GZ will launch an information and education campaign targeted to improve the quality of actions platform member organisations undertake in the field of development cooperation. The process will start from the promotion of the Istanbul Principles as widely accepted and well-thought-out standards for organisations involved in development cooperation.
GZ prepared a presentation, available here, which will be updated weekly with information about the Istanbul Principles (in Polish), including: definitions, impact on practice, interviews and films with the participation of members, as well as good examples from Polish and foreign organisations.

In April 2014 Grupa Zagranica is planning to conduct three workshops in three Polish cities (Krakow, Wroclaw, Warsaw) for the following three Principles: # 2 Embody gender equality and equity while promoting women’s and girls’ rights # 3 Focus on people’s empowerment, democratic ownership and participation # 8 Commit to realising positive sustainable change The aim of this process (campaign, workshops, and discussions) is to adopt the Istanbul Principles (possibly with amendments) at the General Assembly of Grupa Zagranica in June 2014.

Polish Development Cooperation – Infographic 
In 2012 the total value of Polish development aid amounted to 437,7 million USD, which accounted for 0.09 % of GNI. This level did practically not change over the last five years. Observing this negative trend it seems unrealistic to achieve the, declared by the Polish government, target of 0.33 % of GNI in 2015.

The priority countries (mainly the Eastern Partnership countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) received only half of Polish bilateral development assistance. Whereas 40% of the funds went to China as preferential loans. China is the largest individual beneficiary although it is not a priority country of Polish development cooperation. Preferential loans are due to long-term economic agreements implemented by the Ministry of Finance. However, not understandable is why these costs are included into ODA, taking into account that these amounts have been spent on services and goods produced in Poland and helped primarily our economy. The amount of aid for China seems to be particularly important when compared to the LDCs, as well as countries from sub-Saharan Africa. According to a data from 2012 they receive only 3% of bilateral Polish aid.

This year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will start the process on a new Multiannual Development Cooperation Programme, which Grupa Zagranica will attend as a consultant. During the consultation GZ will bring up valid NGOs demands, including the international commitments which Poland has taken (e.g. the Millennium Declaration, the international aid effectiveness agenda), as well as the need for appeal to the overriding objective, which is to reduce poverty, especially in the poorest countries. In the current – deeply criticized by Grupa Zagranica - Multiannual Programme are listed only priority countries and areas suggested to support.

Download infographic here (pdf).

Information provided by Magdalena Trojanek, Grupa Zagranica

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