Poland joined the World Bank in 1946 as a founding member, and then withdrew in 1950 before re-joining the institution in 1986. The Bank provided significant analytical and advisory services, as well as (starting in 1990) substantial financial resources. This assistance has totaled $7.1 billion for 64 projects in areas such as environmental health, transportation and infrastructure, state-owned enterprise restructuring and privatization, energy efficiency and climate change mitigation.
There is a broad consensus that World Bank support was instrumental in supporting Poland’s successful economic transformation, its adoption of a market economy system, and its continued progress and economic and social growth since the early 1990s. This has translated into a large increase in incomes and living standards, in an environment of limited inequalities.
Recent results from knowledge services include:
Supporting Transition Toward a Low-Carbon Future
In late 2008, Poland engaged in implementing new EU policies on climate change mitigation: a 20% reduction in emissions by 2020, an increase to 20% for energy consumption coming from renewable energy, and a 20% improvement in energy efficiency. At the request of the government, the World Bank produced the report “Transition to a Low Emissions Economy in Poland,” which has been widely disseminated by the government. The analysis influenced the government’s Guidelines to the National Program of Greenhouse Gas Abatement in Poland, adopted in August 2011. Government officials and local experts have applied innovative, economy-wide models to address critical economic questions, such as carbon leakage and competitiveness and the distributional effects of climate policies.
Recent results from financial support include:
Bringing People Out of Isolation in Rural Poland
In rural Poland, relatively limited access to services has left some people isolated and excluded. The Poland Post Accession Rural Support Project (PARSP) has delivered assistance to selected rural communities and vulnerable groups—especially youth, the elderly, and the disabled— to directly tackle this isolation. Under the Social Inclusion Program (SIP), over 10,500 contracts worth €36 million have been signed with local service providers to provide innovative social services to marginalized groups, thereby strengthening the capacity of 500 rural social services offices.
New kindergartens, women's groups and village associations have sprung up with cooking demonstrations and folk dancing groups. There are new activities for the disabled—many of whom had not been able to participate before. There are music programs and sports for youth. Seniors go on outings to parks and museums. Villagers connect more with one another and the wider world. Projects do not only build roads or hospitals, they also build human connections and create inspiration for people to reach out to others and improve their lives.
Promoting Safe Polish Roads
As part of the Poland Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Program, the World Bank supported the planning and execution of a drivers’ safety campaign and new road safety measures. The project worked to develop a sustainable and balanced safety system between drivers, pedestrians and road conditions.
New road signs, crosswalks and traffic lights were installed on some major Polish roads, along new local driveways that were built off the highways to make the lives of local communities easier. For example, thanks to some new local driveways children can get on and off school buses inside school property instead of dodging lanes of traffic. Crosswalks on some of the national roads are now brightly lit at night thanks to an innovative solar systems, allowing drivers and pedestrians to see better at night and reducing the number of car accidents.
In addition to promoting safety, the project improved roads, increased the effectiveness of staff responsible for fixing and maintaining roads and highways, and established funding for maintenance. The percentage of Polish national roads that are in good condition increased from 49% in 2005 to nearly 60% in 2011. The length of the road network that can handle heavy trucks has more than doubled, significantly exceeding its target.