Polish development cooperation

During its political and economic transformation in the 1990s, Poland benefited from financial support provided by other countries and the international community. Now, Poland itself has become a development cooperation donor, providing support to its partner countries in the region.

The Polish Aid programme, coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, focuses on good governance, democracy and human rights, entrepreneurship and the private sector, sustainable agriculture and rural development, and environment protection. In the Europe and Central Asia region, its priority countries are Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

Polish Challenge Fund

In December 2019, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland and UNDP launched the pilot Polish Challenge Fund (PCF), to engage Polish companies to address complex development challenges in partner countries.

The Challenge Fund is an innovative platform for gathering, identifying and competing solutions proposals that will be sustainable, suitable to the local context, and scalable and replicable within the country. The goal is to facilitate the transfer of Polish know-how, technology and innovative solutions, by pulling from the private sector, research institutes and universities.

The success of the programme is based on close cooperation between the Polish entities and local partners - to assure project viability and increased capacity on the ground - and the involvement of all possible financial resources and tools to increase the positive impact of development activities.

In 2020 the PCF focused on Republic of Belarus and Ukraine, supporting ten Polish innovations in the areas of green technologies, ICT and digital response to COVID-19 challenges. The projects started in July and run till April 2021. The diverse solutions focused on real-time air pollution monitoring, boosting women’s entrepreneurship, COVID-19-related ICT support for remote learning and automated disinfection planning for health centres and hospitals, smart solutions for city lighting, wastewater and sewage utilization technology, safe waste disposal and animal-tracking.

The next stage: Polish-UNDP Partnership – Innovative Solutions for the SDGs

Building on the pilot Polish Challenge Fund’s success, we now enter the next stage of collaboration, which will continue and capture lessons learned of the initiation phase implemented in 2020. The main goal of the Polish-UNDP Partnership – Innovative Solutions for the SDGs (PUP) is to bring Polish expertise and innovative solutions for SDGs to partner countries. The PUP will engage in selected priority countries form the Europe and Central Asia region. The PUP is composed of two components:

1.       Polish Challenge Fund

Innovative solutions from the Polish private sector, research institutions and academia will be applied to tackle specific developmental challenges in the priority countries. Applicants will be invited to apply around specific development themes to propose solutions applicable at the national and sub-regional level, with potential for scale-up and replication.

2.       Knowledge Management

To ensure that the activities contribute to broader outcomes and have lasting impact, the PUP will aim to achieve positive spill overs by monitoring, collecting and validating the knowledge and the outputs of individual projects, and making it accessible for further use. In this way, the best practices, shared know-how and lessons learned from the projects will be widely available to the other projects implementors as well as to the public across the region.

For more information, please visit the website of the Polish aid programme, coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland.

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