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Dlouhá, J., Vávra, J., Pospíšilová, M., & Dvořáková Líšková, Z. (2022). Role of actors in the processes of sustainable development at local level–experiences from the Czech Republic. Frontiers in Sustainability3. https://doi.org/10.3389/frsus.2022.888406

 In this text we are interested in the preconditions for, and opportunities provided by
sustainable development at local level in non-metropolitan areas, i. e., in rural areas
and villages. These areas are generally seen as having an important role in achieving
sustainability. The literature review highlights the general principles of endogenous
development with an emphasis on local resources including human potential and social
capital, and the Czech context. In practice, the empowerment and cooperation of
regional actors is crucial for the sustainable transition of rural areas; an analysis of the local
situation was thus conducted from the perspective of social capital. Research primarily
questioned the role of local actors in different areas related to sustainable development,
their relationships and involvement in sustainability processes, as well as deficiencies
in social conditions creating barriers to sustainable development. The research
methods selected to answer these questions reflected the context-specific, scientificallyoverlooked character of the theme of this research where emerging phenomena were
at the center of our interest. A survey conducted with representatives of the National
Network of Local Action Groups (LAGs) mapped the situation in 50 (out of 180) LAGs
in the Czech Republic (28 % of the total number). Data were analyzed quantitatively
(single and multiple-choice questions), in combination with qualitative methods which
were used to transform and aggregate responses into conceptual categories which
were monitored for frequency (to observe majority opinion). The diversity of local
actors, their relationships and roles in the sustainable development processes was thus
illustrated. A snapshot of actors’ current involvement in specific areas of sustainable
development was compared with their potential involvement in these areas illustrating
the importance of social capital which is not always recognized in relevant policy
documents. The engagement of these diverse actors in sustainability transition processes
is less evident: in most of the categories of change, the role of public administration
prevails. According to the respondents, these changes that would ensure a sustainable future of the regions are often not taking place. While some of these findings may be
specific to geographically-defined regional conditions and the Czech historical context,
the research raised theoretically relevant questions concerning the role of social capital
in sustainability processes.