Poland’s development co-operation focuses on its Eastern European partner countries and select partner countries in Africa and the Middle East. The largest proportion of Poland’s official development assistance (ODA) is provided as core contributions to the multilateral system, particularly to European Union (EU) institutions. Total ODA (USD 952.3 million, preliminary data) increased slightly in 2021, representing 0.15% of gross national income (GNI). ODA increases exceeded COVID-19 vaccine donations.

Find the methodological notes behind the profile here.

The Multiannual Programme for Development Cooperation for 2021–2030: Solidarity for Development focuses Poland’s bilateral co-operation on its eastern neighbours as well as select partners in Africa and the Middle East. Aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals, Poland focuses notably on peace, justice and strong institutions, as well as equal opportunities, including in education and labour. Climate action and gender equality are cross-cutting priorities. An annual Development Co-operation Plan sets out objectives and actions for Poland’s engagement.

Engagement with the EU is a multilateral priority. Within the EU, Poland has initiated and strongly promotes the Eastern Partnership initiative as a key factor in promoting stability and successful transformation in the EU’s neighbourhood. Poland’s strategy includes a commitment to policy coherence for development (PCD) and identifies several PCD priority areas: illicit financial flows, illegal trade in endangered plant and animal species, and responsible business conduct. In 2022, two new PCD priority areas were added: 1) sustainable cities and communities; and 2) climate (including the environment and seas).

The 2019 OECD-DAC mid-term review praised Poland for improving cross-government co-ordination on loans and scholarships. Poland has also made progress in making its civil society organisation (CSO) financing more flexible, increasing transparency and engaging with the private sector. The mid-term review highlighted that the introduction of country strategies could help enhance dialogue with partner countries, focus Poland’s programme and promote managing for results. It also underlined that the share of tied aid remains high. Learn more about Poland’s 2019 OECD-DAC mid-term review. The next OECD-DAC peer review of Poland is planned for 2023.

Poland provided USD 952.3 million (preliminary data) of ODA in 2021,1 representing 0.15% of GNI. This was an increase of 9.4% in real terms in volume, reflecting an increase in bilateral aid, including COVID-related support and vaccine donations, as well as an increase in share of GNI from 2020. Poland’s ODA volume has been gradually increasing over the past five years. Poland is committed to reaching a 0.33% ODA/GNI ratio by 2030, as part of the EU’s collective commitment to achieve a 0.7% ODA/GNI ratio by 2030. Within Poland’s ODA portfolio in 2020, 97% was provided in the form of grants and 3% in the form of non-grants.2

Poland ranks 26th among 29 Development Assistance Committee (DAC) member countries when ODA is taken as a share of GNI. The EU remains the most important channel for Polish ODA. In line with its policy, Poland’s bilateral ODA allocations are highly concentrated in its eastern neighbourhood, notably due to imputed student costs. Poland’s bilateral ODA remains highly tied and the share of interventions targeting gender equality is very low.

Poland is committed to several international targets and Development Assistance Committee standards and recommendations. Learn more about DAC recommendations.

Poland provided most of its ODA multilaterally in 2020. Gross bilateral ODA was 27.8% of total ODA. Eight per cent of gross bilateral ODA was channelled through multilateral organisations (earmarked contributions). Poland allocated 72.2% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations.

In 2020, Poland provided USD 21.2 million of gross bilateral ODA for the COVID-19 response, representing 9.1% of its total gross bilateral ODA. Less than 1% of total gross bilateral ODA was provided as health expenditure within the COVID-19 response.

In 2020, Poland provided USD 623.1 million of gross ODA to the multilateral system, an increase of 5.4% in real terms from 2019. Of this, USD 604.2 million was core multilateral ODA, while non-core contributions were earmarked for a specific country, region, theme or purpose. Project-type funding that is earmarked for a specific theme and/or country accounted for 1.5% of Poland’s non-core contributions and 98.5% was programmatic funding (to pooled funds and specific-purpose programmes and funds).

Ninety per cent of Poland’s total contributions to multilateral organisations in 2020 was allocated to EU institutions.

The UN system received 5.8% of Poland’s gross ODA to the multilateral system, mainly through core contributions. Out of a total volume of USD 36.2 million to the UN system, the top three UN recipients of Poland’s support (core and earmarked contributions) were: the UN Secretariat (USD 10.6 million), the UNDP (USD 3.7 million) and the FAO (USD 3.1 million).

See the section on Geographic and sectoral focus of ODA for the breakdown of bilateral allocations, including ODA earmarked through the multilateral development system. Learn more about multilateral development finance.

In 2020, Poland’s bilateral spending declined slightly compared to the previous year. It provided USD 233.1 million of gross bilateral ODA (which includes earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations). This represented a decrease of 2.9% in real terms from 2019. In 2020, Poland focused most of its bilateral ODA on addressing the education, health and peace, justice and strong institutions goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

In 2020, country programmable aid was 29.8% of Poland’s gross bilateral ODA, compared to a DAC country average of 49.7%. In-donor refugee costs were USD 6.7 million in 2020, an increase of 12.6% in real terms over 2019, and represented 0.8% of Poland’s total gross ODA. Imputed student costs were USD 116.8 million in 2020, and represented 50.1% of Poland’s total gross bilateral ODA.

Poland engages in triangular co-operation. Learn more about specific projects at the OECD’s voluntary triangular co-operation project repository and more broadly.

In 2020, Poland channelled bilateral ODA mainly through the public sector (76.9%). Technical co-operation made up 15.7% of gross ODA in 2020.

In 2020, CSOs received USD 34.7 million of gross bilateral ODA. Poland did not provide any ODA as core contributions to CSOs. Of gross bilateral ODA, 14.9% was channelled through CSOs to implement projects initiated by the donor (earmarked funding). From 2019 to 2020, total contributions for CSOs increased as a share of bilateral ODA, from 8.3% to 14.9%. Learn more about ODA allocations to and through CSOs, civil society engagement in development co-operation, and the DAC Recommendation on Enabling Civil Society in Development Co-operation and Humanitarian Aid.

In 2020, Poland’s bilateral ODA was primarily focused on Europe. Allocations to ODA-eligible countries in Europe totalled USD 148.8 million and represented 63.8% of gross bilateral ODA. USD 38.9 million was allocated to Asia and USD 21.9 million to Africa, accounting respectively for 16.7% and 9.4% of gross bilateral ODA. Europe was also the main regional recipient of Poland’s earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations, in line with its policy priorities.

In 2020, 78.7% of gross bilateral ODA went to Poland’s top 10 recipients. Its top 2 recipients by far are priority countries, Ukraine and Belarus, while other key recipient countries include priority and non-priority countries in Europe, Asia and Africa. Turkey was again the third-largest bilateral recipient, reflecting Poland’s contributions to the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey. The share of gross bilateral ODA that was not allocated by country was 4.9%, mainly due to expenditure for in-donor refugees.

In 2020, least developed countries (LDCs) received 6.8% of Poland’s gross bilateral ODA (USD 15.9 million). This is below the DAC country average of 24.4%. Poland allocated the highest share of gross bilateral ODA (44.7%) to lower middle-income countries in 2020, noting that 4.9% was unallocated by income group. Poland allocated 0.1% of gross bilateral ODA to small island developing states in 2020, equal to USD 200 000.

Support to fragile contexts reached USD 28.1 million in 2020, representing 12.1% of Poland’s gross bilateral ODA. Fifteen per cent of this ODA was provided in the form of humanitarian assistance, increasing from 12.2% in 2019, while 3.1% was allocated to peace, a slight increase from 2.6% in 2019. Less than 1% went to conflict prevention, a subset of contributions to peace, representing a decrease from 0.8% in 2019.

Learn more about support to fragile contexts on the States of Fragility platform.

In 2020, more than half of all of Poland’s bilateral ODA was allocated to social infrastructure and services. Investments in this area accounted for 73.2% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 171.5 million), with a strong focus on support to education (USD 128.6 million), followed by government and civil society (USD 25.4 million). ODA for production sectors totalled USD 9.9 million, with a focus on agriculture (USD 9.5 million). Bilateral humanitarian assistance amounted to USD 37.5 million (16% of bilateral ODA). Earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations focused primarily on humanitarian assistance in 2020.

In 2020, Poland did not commit any bilateral ODA to the mobilisation of domestic resources in developing countries. Poland committed USD 14.4 million (13.2% of its bilateral allocable aid) to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy in 2020.

In 2020, Poland committed 3.7% of its screened bilateral allocable aid to gender equality and women’s empowerment, as either a principal or significant objective (down from 6.9% in 2019),3 well below the 2020 DAC country average of 44.6%. This was equal to USD 4.1 million of bilateral ODA in support of gender equality. The share of screened bilateral allocable aid committed to gender equality and women’s empowerment as a principal objective was 1.1%, compared with the 2020 DAC country average of 4.8%. A significantly higher share of interventions on population and reproductive health address gender equality than those in other sectors. Poland screens all activities against the DAC gender equality policy marker (100% in 2020). Learn more about ODA focused on gender equality, the DAC Network on Gender Equality and the DAC Recommendation on Ending Sexual Exploitation in Development Co-operation.

In 2020, Poland committed 6.7% of its total bilateral allocable aid (USD 7.3 million) in support of the environment and the Rio Conventions (the DAC country average was 38.8%), down from 11.3% in 2019. Less than 1% of screened bilateral allocable aid in 2020 focused on environmental issues as a principal objective, compared with the DAC country average of 10.8%. Six per cent of total bilateral allocable aid (USD 6.9 million) focused on climate change overall, down from 7.6% in 2019 (the DAC country average was 34%). Poland had a greater focus on adaptation (5.7%) than on mitigation (1.3%) in 2020. Learn more about climate-related development finance and the DAC Declaration on Aligning Development Co-operation with the Goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Poland provides resource flows to developing countries beyond ODA.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) co-ordinates development co-operation policy under the brand “Polish Aid”. It manages most bilateral co-operation and is also responsible for EU co-operation. In addition to contributions to the EU budget, the Ministry of Finance also provides concessional lending after co-ordination with other ministries. The Solidarity Fund, a State Treasury foundation, implements a number of bilateral programmes. The Ministry of Education and Science supervises the implementation of the scholarship programmes of the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange.

An important mechanism for consulting stakeholders is the Development Co-operation Policy Council, which meets twice per year. CSOs active in development co-operation, humanitarian assistance and global citizenship education co-ordinate through the umbrella body Grupa Zagranica.

Internal systems and processes help ensure the effective delivery of Poland’s development co-operation. Features of Poland’s systems for quality and oversight showcases some of its select features.

Explore the Monitoring Dashboard of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation.

2019 OECD-DAC mid-term review of Poland: www.oecd.org/dac/peer-reviews/Poland-DAC-Mid-term-review-letter-2019.pdf

2017 OECD-DAC peer review of Poland: https://www.oecd.org/dac/oecd-development-co-operation-peer-reviews-poland-2017-9789264268869-en.htm

Polish Aid: https://www.gov.pl/web/polishaid

Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA): https://www.gov.pl/web/diplomacy

CSO umbrella organisation Grupa Zagranica: https://zagranica.org.pl

Member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee since 2013.

The methodological notes provide further details on the definitions and statistical methodologies applied, including the grant-equivalent methodology, core and earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations, country programmable aid, channels of delivery, bilateral ODA unspecified/unallocated, bilateral allocable aid, the gender equality policy marker, and the environment markers.


← 1. DAC members adopted the grant-equivalent methodology starting from their reporting of 2018 data as a more accurate way to count the donor effort in development loans. See the methodological notes for further details.

← 2. Non-grants include sovereign loans, multilateral loans, equity investment and loans to the private sector.

← 3. The use of the recommended minimum criteria for the marker by some members in recent years can result in lower levels of aid reported as being focused on gender equality.

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