Tuesday, 18 August 2020
A number of development strategies of cities and municipalities is based on the principles of sustainable development. This is explicitly imposed by the Act No. 248/2000 Coll., on regional development (in § 18, paragraph 14) to large cities - Brno, Ostrava, Plzen, Ústí nad Labem, Pardubice, Olomouc and the City of Prague. Some other cities, such as Havirov, Kladno, Prague 8, also developed their own sustainable development strategies, too.
A special item are the Smart City strategies, which contribute significantly to the achievement of SDG 11. In this sense, not only the Smart City strategies of a number of cities in the Czech Republic (at present approximately 30 strategies) have been published, but also the SMART Czech Republic/ Sustainable Czech Republic Strategy of the Union of Towns and Municipalities of the Czech Republic is under preparation. This strategy is being developed in close cooperation with the Ministry for Regional Development and a number of partners.
Special local initiative is a LEADER approach represented by Local Action Groups (LAGs). There are 179 LAGs, 167 of them are members of The National Network of LAGs in the Czech Republic. They represent local partnership of municipalities, entrepreneurs and NNOs. Their mission is support of sustainable and balanced development of rural areas. And it is based on the bottom-up approach. LAGs realize 178 Strategies of Community–led Local Development altogether; 106 of them contribute to fulfilling to the selected goal of the Operational Programme Environment 2014-2020. It means there is a strong regional support for chosen aims in nature protection (typically tree planting either in urban areas or in countryside) which covers 53,35 % of The Czech Republic area.
LA 21 initiatives:
In addition to several partial ways in which the state supports sustainable development at local level (especially methodically and financially), there is a system/comprehensive tool in the Czech Republic: Local Agenda 21 (hereinafter LA21). The Sustainable Development Progress and Assessment system came from Chapter 28, Agenda 21 and has been continuously updated. At present, the starting document is Agenda 2030 and aims to fulfill SDGs in a way that is relevant at local level. The plan is to declare the interconnection also in the title under the new concept: "Local Agenda 2030". Within the vertical interconnection there is also a systemic cooperation with regions.
In addition to the vertical interconnection of the different levels of public administration, there is also a horizontal interconnection. The Working Group for LA21 of the Government Council for Sustainable Development is a platform for stakeholder discussion, but also a systematic setting of methodology and evaluation. The LA21 system is coordinated by the Ministry of the Environment, administered by CENIA - www.ma21.cz. Representatives of ministries, the academic sphere of NGOs and municipal associations meet in the Working Group. The LA21 represents 10 areas of sustainable development (according to the Aalborg Commitments) and cross-cutting themes such as participation, education and awareness and strategic planning. The state finance expert opponents of so-called audits in all 10 areas for advanced cities, including expert recommendations for further development.
The basic set of indicators is contained in the ‘Criteria for LA 21’ and serves the purpose of moving up on the scale of categories D, C, B, A when fulfilled. This set is open to development and modification and customized for different types of municipalities (small villages, urban districts, LAGs).
Currently, 83 active entities and approximately 108 municipalities and 63 cooperating entities (e.g. NGOs) are registered in the system. At the top of the quality rating within the Agenda are two medium-sized towns, followed by two other towns and one small municipality. In the Strategic Framework Czech Republic 2030 the qualitative and quantitative increase of LA21 is one of the specific objectives. The LA21 system was assessed in detail by the OECD and its further support was recommended. LA21 is a voluntary instrument - for this reason its use and success depend on the will of the political leadership of the municipality. It is a long-term concept that goes beyond one term.
The Healthy Cities of the Czech Republic is a municipal association with over 130 member cities/regions dealing with topics of sustainability, quality of life and health support. Actively supports local administration in SD topics including indicators, strategies and its management, evaluation and public participation. Runs a Good Practice Database and a nationwide database system with national / regional / local strategies with possible linkages to SDGs and SD topics. With university experts develops a portal with SD indicators, standards and methodologies. Participates in the activities of the Czech Governmental Council of SD.