The Solidarity Fund is Poland's truly unique mechanism. The local governments of the Metropolitan Association of Upper Silesia and Dąbrowa Basin (also known as the Metropolis GZM) support each other in order to level their potentials and bridge the gap in social and economic development.
The area of the Metropolis is highly diversified. On one hand, it is formed by big and robust cities and smaller municipalities that - for various reasons - have incomparably smaller budgets. We are much like "communicating vessels" - we can achieve a great deal when all our components are provided with sustainable growth. It is a “win-win” business model where the strong can boost their potential, while the smaller ones are also provided with favourable conditions to strengthen their growth potential.
To apply these principles in practice, we have established the Solidarity Fund. Its purpose is to compensate for disparities in the social and economic development of cities and municipalities of the Metropolis through providing financial support for investment projects aimed at improving the quality and comfort of life of its residents.
The Fund was launched with the beginning of the Metropolis's operation. During its first edition in 2018 the pool totalled over PLN 100 million, which allowed to co-finance the implementation of over 100 projects.
The first edition of the Solidarity Fund covered a very wide range of investment projects. These included projects related to, inter alia, modernization and reconstruction of road infrastructure, modernization of lighting, revitalization of public spaces, reclamation of green areas, as well as investments in thermal modernization or in water and sewage management systems.
In 2019, the formula of the Solidarity Fund was slightly changed. Since air pollution knows no borders, we have decided to make the low-carbon emission reduction the key theme of the second edition of the Solidarity Fund. To co-finance these projects, we have allocated PLN 40 out of 60 million planned this year for the implementation of the programme.
For us, low-carbon reduction has a broad meaning. Not only does it include thermal modernization of buildings, exchange of heat or energy sources, modernization of lighting, but also the construction of cycling routes or the purchase of zero-emission city buses.
The remaining funds (approx. 20 million) together with the pool of funds not spent in 2018 (approx. 7 million) shall be allocated for the implementation of other projects supporting the social and economic development of metropolitan municipalities.
In 2019, a total of 107 projects received co-finance in a total amount of 66.6 million PLN.
In 2020, the pool of funds allocated to the third Solidarity Fund amounts to 10 million PLN.
The Fund's mechanism of action is as follows:
- The Metropolis Assembly allocates from the annual budget an amount to be distributed in the form of designated subsidies for tasks carried out by the municipalities belonging to the Metropolis GZM, allocating pools for each of the five subregions of the Metropolis. The allocation of funds to the individual municipalities of a given subregion is decided by the very municipalities constituting the subregion. The subsidies may be granted both to major investment tasks which are of great significance for the development of the entire area of the Metropolis GZM and to those which are consistent with the “Strategic Action Programme of Metropolis GZM Until 2022”. The projects can count on the co-financing of up to 85% of investment costs.
- Applications of individual municipalities are collected by the leaders of five subregions:
- Bytom subregion (Bytom - leader, Ożarowice, Piekary Śląskie, Radzionków, Świerklaniec, Tarnowskie Góry, Zbrosławice),
- Gliwice subregion (Gliwice - leader, Gierałtowice, Knurów, Pilchowice, Pyskowice, Rudziniec, Sośnicowice and Zabrze).
– Katowice (Katowice - leader, Chorzów, Mysłowice, Ruda Śląska, Siemianowice Śląskie, Świętochłowice),
– Sosnowiec subregion (Sosnowiec - leader, Będzin, Bobrowniki, Czeladź, Dąbrowa Górnicza, Mierzęcice, Psary, Siewierz, Sławków, Wojkowice),
– Tychy subregion (Tychy - leader, Bieruń, Bojszowy, Chełm Śląski, Imielin, Kobiór, Lędziny, Łaziska Górne, Mikołów, Wyry).
- The leaders of sub-regions submit the agreed list of projects to the Management Board of the Metropolis to be reviewed from the formal and legal point of view.
- The list of proposed investments is then submitted to the Metropolis Assembly, which adopts a resolution on granting the subsidies in question.