Environment Centre
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Vávra, J., Dlouhá, J., Pospíšilová, M., Pělucha, M., Šindelářová, I., Dvořáková Líšková, Z., ... & Cudlínová, E. (2022). Local Action Groups and sustainable development agenda: Case study of regional perspectives from Czechia. Frontiers in Sustainability3, 846658.  https://doi.org/10.3389/frsus.2022.846658

The United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is generally accepted
as an overarching framework to cope with various global challenges. Many of them
are manifested locally and need to be solved at the regional or local level. National
strategies of regional development and top-down funding are important drivers of the
activities of various regional actors. However, the integration of the regional development
strategies and the sustainable development agenda is not straightforward and may fail
to acknowledge the local context and potential for bottom-up activities. In the European
Union’s (EU) context, the local action groups (LAGs) are an important driving force
of regional development, but little is known about their perception of the sustainable
development agenda. The article presents a research case study of Czech LAGs realized
in 2021. LAGs were approached with questionnaires focusing on their understanding
of the sustainable development agenda and their own role in the process of its
implementation. In this paper, we show that the LAGs’ representatives are aware of
the sustainable development concept and work with relevant governmental strategies,
but they feel that they cannot contribute to the fulfillment of many particular sustainable
development goals (SDGs), especially those related to the environment. This contrasts
with their reflection of the goals with an economic and social focus in which they
feel relatively more empowered, especially in education. Our findings reveal that there
is a high risk of mismatch between the bottom-up potential of LAGs for regional
sustainable development and top-down conditions of national strategies. The results of
the research contribute to the contemporary discussions about the SDGs and regional
development and thus could be used by both academics and practitioners. Notably,
national policymakers and regional authorities could benefit from our insights into LAGs’
perspective of SDGs’ implementation.