LAG Czech West is situated in the western part of the Czech Republic and consists of 3 microregions (Microregion Konstantinolázeňsko, Stříbrský region, Microregion Hracholusky), towns Planá, Chodová Planá and 3 smaller villages (Blažim, Čerňovice, Ostrov u Bezdružic). The population of this area is 27.235. The inhabitants live in small rural villages and 5 small towns – Stříbro, Planá, Kladruby, Bezdružice and Černošín. LAG Czech West covers a total area of 735 km2 – it is more than a third of the Tachov division and a small part of the Plzeň-north division.
LAG Czech West was successful in the programmes LEADER CR 2004 and 2006 We were among 10 pilot LAGs in the Czech Republic which realised the Strategic plan within the programme LEADER+ . during 2005-2006. In April 2008 our LAG was choosen to realize the Strategic plan LEADER „Sudety – the place for meetings“ within the programme LEADER 2007-2013.
LAG Czech West – Local Partnership started in 2004 but its foudation had been in progress since 2003. At the beginning our LAG included only the area of the Microregion Konstantinolázeňsko, Stříbrský region and the town Planá. In 2007, a new region- Hracholusky and a new town- Chodová Planá entred into the LAG.
Programme LEADER (abbreviation for „Liaison Entre Actions de Développement e´Économie Rurale“, meaning “Links between the rural economy and development actions“) is an initiation of the European Union which has helped with the development of rural areas in all Europe since 1991. LEADER and its methods were first used in the Czech Republic in 2004. LEADER follows the Village Renewal Programme established by the Ministry of Environment of the Czech Republic in 1993. In 1996 it was taken over by the Ministry for Regional Development. After entering to the European Union, ,Ministry of Environment became the authority (MZE). The ministry cooperates with the State agricultural Interventional Fund (SZIF) which is responsible for the programme administration.
The LEADER objective is to support partnership among public, private and non-profit sectors by the means of bottom-up approach. Representative of local, private and non-profit sectors can establish LAG („Local Action Group“). Every LAG has to be a legal entity (civic associations, generally useful company, association of legal persons). Its aim is to develop so called integrated development strategy of its area. This strategy has to be thematically specialized in a specific problem of the area. The conditions are: territorial integrity, number of inhabitants between 10 and 100 thousands and a low population density.
The creation of Strategic plan LEADER“ (SPL) results from the integrated development strategy. The best strategic plans are selected and supported by the Ministry of Environment. Then the LAG announces the Call for Project Proposals within its development strategy and chooses some of the projects and recommends to the state authority (MZE and SZIF) to support them. So each LAG is responsible for the project selection procedure The activity of LAG could be also described as a grant agency which creates grant programme (SPL) and supports the area with financial recourses according to the stated rules.
In 2007 the LAG´s area extended as new regions, Microregion Hracholusky and the town Chodová Planá, joined us. Consequently, the LAG´s area increased by 40 %; the percentage of its population rose by 23 % and the number of its members grew by 60%. For these reasons and for the fact that the realisation of the LAG´s strategy was successful, we decided to update the integrated development strategy under the under the title the integrated development strategy of the area of the LAG Czech West – Local Partnership 2007-13 (IDS).
The methodology of the updating resulted from the principles which were used 4 years ago when the first integrated strategy was created. We focused on engagement of public and LAG members in the process. Then the Strategic Plan LEADER, which results from the integrated strategy and is called Sudety- place for meetings, was compiled.
In 2007, the integrated development strategy of the LAG area 2007-13 was created. It results from the integrated development strategy 2004-6 and from previous experience with LEADER.The new strategy will be the main strategic material for the seven-years season. We appeal on LAG´s members and other organizations of the Konstantinolázeňsko, Stříbrsko, Plánsko, Hracholusky regions, including local citizens to comment on the final proposal of the strategy before its approval which will take place during the 7th Plenary Assembly of LAG´s Members. Send your suggestions to: firstname.lastname@example.org or join the internet discussion bellow this article.
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