Academic journal article European Journal of Sustainable Development

Regional Sustainable Development - Czech Region Ranking UsingMulti-Criteria Decision Analysis

Academic journal article European Journal of Sustainable Development

Regional Sustainable Development - Czech Region Ranking UsingMulti-Criteria Decision Analysis

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

1. Introduction

Although the total area of the Czech Republic is small, the development in its regions differs. It is determined by different environment and history. In the past decades the Czech Republic has been transformed, in this context the development on region level attracted attention. The environmental issues arose and so the sustainable development has been in the spotlight. Regional sustainable development is a very actual issue for Czech policymakers; however it is startling that there is no multidimensional comparison across regions based on indicators of sustainability. Some regional comparisons are available, but mostly in the form of quality of life assessments (Mederly, Topercer, & Nová?ek, 2004) or statistical overviews without a deeper analysis and regional comparison (Czech_Statistical_Office, 2010). Indeed, measuring of sustainable development is questionable due to the vague definition of sustainable development indicators. If measuring is poor, benchmarking or ranking can be a useful tool for assessment of the regions. The question left is a chosen method. The sustainable development is characterised by deep complexity (Funtowicz, Munda, & Paruccini, 1990). The main assumption is that sustainability assessment needs a set of multidimensional indicators (Munda, 2005). However, for benchmarking or ranking those indicators have to be aggregated into one number. The well-known concept of three pillars (economic, social and environmental of sustainability development) was followed. The equal importance (or weight) was assigned to each pillar. In pursuit of final ranking, the ranking of separate pillars was assessed by means of multi-criteria decision analysis. The aim of the paper is provide comparison across regions because it shows which regions are on a very low level in sustainable development. It gives an indication of the need for an improvement. Ranking facilitates an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of each region. Also the comparisons in separate pillars pinpoint them. Last (but) not least advantage is that ranking is easily understandable for policymakers, public and other stakeholders.

2. Data

The possibilities of statistical data processing at the local level are rather problematic due to a small number of official - no matter how thoroughly conducted - surveys. In spite of the limited amount of data and different data requirements in comparison with the national level, questionnaire surveys are often launched to find out about public opinion on particular issues. But it is difficult to make spatial and time comparison of the country regions. Only local surveys of a limited scope are carried out.For meaningful statistical analyses, it is necessary to have a high-quality initial data set at one's disposal. In order to ensure a better comparability it is useful to select such indicators that are broadly available in regions not only for single country, but eventually for other countries as well. Only on NUTS 3 level official data sources provide reliable data. This does not allow us to study sustainable development in the Czech Republic at a lower regional level in detail, which would be more suitable for the identification of regional disparities in some sustainable development aspects. A greater number of observations would be also more appropriate so that statistical methods could be employed for further analyses. For the above mentioned reasons the level of NUTS 3 territorial administration unit was chosen which means analysis is performed on 14 Czech regions (for the list see Table 1). The original set of sustainable development indicators was created by the Czech Statistical Office in 2008 and reviewed in 2010. Since then, no more reviews were carried out.

In this analysis the latest available data were used. Some adjustments had to be made with respect to data availability and the scope of this analysis. …

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