Poland has made impressive progress in raising the living standards of its citizens in recent decades, with GDP per capita rising from 37.5% of the OECD average in 1990 to 72,5% in 2019. This economic progress has also been accompanied by important social achievements. For example, Poland recorded a significant increase in the pre-school participation rate (children aged 3-6 from 58,3% in 2006 to almost 89,5% in 2018), although there remain significant urban-rural disparities.
Poland makes up a substantial share of EU agricultural land (8%); the number of agricultural holdings (13%) and the number of people employed in agriculture (16%). Agricultural products constitute also an important part of Poland’s exports (13%). Despite significant progress in recent years, some rural areas are still lagging behind in terms of infrastructure.
Poland is characterised by relatively small water resources of about 1,580 m3/year per inhabitant, which is only about 35% of the European average. Given the population density, Poland often faces water scarcity problems in some areas of the country. Fortunately, however, there is a noticeable decrease in the amount of water used per capita.
In 2018, approximately 77% of Poland’s electricity was generated from hard coal and lignite, with only about 13% of electricity being produced from renewable energy sources - mainly from wind power plants, biomass and biogas. The share of electricity production from coal in 2030 is expected to be about 56-60% and in 2040 about 28% (50% lower than in 2030).
The development of innovation remains one of the key challenges of the Polish economy. Poland’s gross domestic expenditure on research and development increased from 0.55% of GDP in 2006 to 1.21% of GDP in 2018, but it is still below the EU average.
Poland is at the beginning of its path towards a circular economy, with considerable potential for promoting eco-design among manufacturers, as well as improving the level of recovery of secondary raw materials from waste and reducing the resource consumption of the economy.
At the institutional level, the national Strategy for Responsible Development (SRD) provides an overarching system for coordinated and integrated implementation of the SDGs and defines the roles of respective public institutions and ways of collaboration with other stakeholders.