New book broaches live issues for African development agendas

A new book by WUN’s Global Africa Group (GAG) is on track for publication by Springer in early 2019. It will also feature at GAG’s public forum during the WUN Annual Conference in Perth in May. Africa and the Sustainable Development Goals is co-edited by Professor Maano Ramutsindela (University of Cape Town) and Dr David Mickler (University of Western Australia), who are also co-chairs of GAG. In this Q&A they talk about the critical issues the book explores, and why their collaboration has been so successful.

How important is your new book in fostering understanding of SDGs in Africa, and in driving change and further research?

As one of the first book-length contributions to this debate to be published, our book will make a useful contribution to discussions and research on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa during the period up to 2030. The book does not aim to be comprehensive in coverage, although almost all SDGs are referenced in the volume, but does facilitate the publication of research on issues of relevance to researchers on the continent. Further research will be needed on the implementation of the SDGs in a range of African contexts.

Wildlife crime, climate impacted non-communicable diseases, and talent management challenges for women … what other ‘live’ challenges does the book broach?

Mining, media, mental health, youth employment, food security; in fact all of the chapters canvass live issues of importance to African development agendas. The book looks at some common themes as well as some national or regional-specific issues, with a particular focus on West, East and Southern Africa drawing on our African university members (Ghana, Nairobi and Cape Town).

In a nutshell, what’s the book’s aim?

This multifaceted book explores the significance of the Sustainable Development Goals for the African continent. It examines how macro development agendas at the global and regional levels play out at national and local levels in Africa.

What are some significant chapters?

Chapter 21 on collaboration for water innovation is particularly important in the context of the severe water shortages currently facing Cape Town (where our authors’ workshop was held in December 2017). Chapter 5 on the critical need for sustainable governance of natural resources in Africa is also pertinent. As the chapter summary says, “The authors argue that although demonstrating an initial contribution to sustainable development is relatively straightforward for most mining projects … it is far more difficult to plan and execute genuinely sustainable development outcomes beyond the life of each mine and over the long-term fluctuations in mineral commodity prices.”

How have WUN partner universities been involved in the project?

Fifty-three co-authors (out of a total 77 co-authors) have been drawn from 11 WUN partner universities. The 11 unis are Cape Town (South Africa), Nairobi (Kenya), Maastricht (The Netherlands), Ghana, UWA (Australia), Sheffield (UK), York (UK), Bergen (Norway), CUHK (Hong Kong), Bristol (UK), Leeds (UK). We have also engaged contributors from another 23 universities and organisations.

The authors represent a wide range of disciplines and a rich diversity of research interests. What’s on the list?

It’s not exhaustive, but the list includes: higher educational development, chemistry, international relations and development, applied epidemiology, mining engineering, rock mechanics, occupational psychology, library and information science, physics, geography, resource development, sustainability, peace building, applied econometrics, civil engineering, sociology, politics, ecology, human resource management, science communications, capacity development, organizational theory, academic freedom, marine biodiscovery, adult learning, mental health, sustainable tourism, philosophy, terrorism/counter-terrorism, cybersecurity, climate change, palaeobotany, NGO governance and resource management, land reform, agronomy, water management, post-conflict reconstruction, poverty dynamics, and gender-based social mobility.

What did the book project show you about the strength and flexibility of WUN and GAG as networks?

International research networks such as WUN GAG proved to be critical in setting up and running a dynamic project like this. They make collaboration easier and faster. They also enable us to generate themes and research priorities from the bottom up, rather than top down approaches based on external donors’ and research-funding bodies’ priorities. The group is able to generate its own research agenda, based on its model of developing African regional research hubs and working at the intersection of African and global development frameworks and the expertise and interests of WUN GAG researchers. The rules for co-authorship ensured that we have a balanced rage of perspectives, which is a great strength of our approach and this book.

What’s great about what you’ve achieved during the year?

The authors’ workshop was a great way to meet the other contributors and to get the project up and running. We are on track with our schedule, which includes a peer review process. The project will be highlighted at the WUN GAG public forum in Perth during the WUN Annual Conference on May 25 for which the panel theme is “Africa and Sustainable Development Agendas”.

When the book will be released?

The book should be out by early 2019, and we’re working to a structured set of timelines for submission. We don’t have an exact publication date yet but from the receipt of chapter Expressions of Interest to publication should be about 18 months, which is a great achievement.

To recap: what’s the book’s raison d’être?

The purpose of this book is to use the WUN Global Africa Group, as an international research network, to produce a multi-faceted volume exploring important relationships between the SDGs and Africa via a structured collaborative process that brings together expertise from both the continent and the wider network.

A central principle of this collaboration has been to have at least one African author and at least one WUN member-based co-author per chapter. We’ve also achieved a gender balance and included contributions by early career researchers and practitioners along with senior academics, which is an excellent achievement.

Africa and the Sustainable Development Goals, co-edited by Professor Maano Ramutsindela (University of Cape Town) and Dr David Mickler (University of Western Australia), will be published in early 2019 by Springer in its Sustainable Development Goals Series.

New book broaches live issues for African development agendas

A new book by WUN’s Global Africa Group (GAG) is on track for publication by Springer in early 2019. It will also feature at GAG’s public forum during the WUN Annual Conference in Perth in May. Africa and the Sustainable Development Goals is co-edited by Professor Maano Ramutsindela (University of Cape Town) and Dr David Mickler (University of Western Australia), who are also co-chairs of GAG. In this Q&A they talk about the critical issues the book explores, and why their collaboration has been so successful.

How important is your new book in fostering understanding of SDGs in Africa, and in driving change and further research?

As one of the first book-length contributions to this debate to be published, our book will make a useful contribution to discussions and research on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa during the period up to 2030. The book does not aim to be comprehensive in coverage, although almost all SDGs are referenced in the volume, but does facilitate the publication of research on issues of relevance to researchers on the continent. Further research will be needed on the implementation of the SDGs in a range of African contexts.

Wildlife crime, climate impacted non-communicable diseases, and talent management challenges for women … what other ‘live’ challenges does the book broach?

Mining, media, mental health, youth employment, food security; in fact all of the chapters canvass live issues of importance to African development agendas. The book looks at some common themes as well as some national or regional-specific issues, with a particular focus on West, East and Southern Africa drawing on our African university members (Ghana, Nairobi and Cape Town).

In a nutshell, what’s the book’s aim?

This multifaceted book explores the significance of the Sustainable Development Goals for the African continent. It examines how macro development agendas at the global and regional levels play out at national and local levels in Africa.

What are some significant chapters?

Chapter 21 on collaboration for water innovation is particularly important in the context of the severe water shortages currently facing Cape Town (where our authors’ workshop was held in December 2017). Chapter 5 on the critical need for sustainable governance of natural resources in Africa is also pertinent. As the chapter summary says, “The authors argue that although demonstrating an initial contribution to sustainable development is relatively straightforward for most mining projects … it is far more difficult to plan and execute genuinely sustainable development outcomes beyond the life of each mine and over the long-term fluctuations in mineral commodity prices.”

How have WUN partner universities been involved in the project?

Fifty-three co-authors (out of a total 77 co-authors) have been drawn from 11 WUN partner universities. The 11 unis are Cape Town (South Africa), Nairobi (Kenya), Maastricht (The Netherlands), Ghana, UWA (Australia), Sheffield (UK), York (UK), Bergen (Norway), CUHK (Hong Kong), Bristol (UK), Leeds (UK). We have also engaged contributors from another 23 universities and organisations.

The authors represent a wide range of disciplines and a rich diversity of research interests. What’s on the list?

It’s not exhaustive, but the list includes: higher educational development, chemistry, international relations and development, applied epidemiology, mining engineering, rock mechanics, occupational psychology, library and information science, physics, geography, resource development, sustainability, peace building, applied econometrics, civil engineering, sociology, politics, ecology, human resource management, science communications, capacity development, organizational theory, academic freedom, marine biodiscovery, adult learning, mental health, sustainable tourism, philosophy, terrorism/counter-terrorism, cybersecurity, climate change, palaeobotany, NGO governance and resource management, land reform, agronomy, water management, post-conflict reconstruction, poverty dynamics, and gender-based social mobility.

What did the book project show you about the strength and flexibility of WUN and GAG as networks?

International research networks such as WUN GAG proved to be critical in setting up and running a dynamic project like this. They make collaboration easier and faster. They also enable us to generate themes and research priorities from the bottom up, rather than top down approaches based on external donors’ and research-funding bodies’ priorities. The group is able to generate its own research agenda, based on its model of developing African regional research hubs and working at the intersection of African and global development frameworks and the expertise and interests of WUN GAG researchers. The rules for co-authorship ensured that we have a balanced rage of perspectives, which is a great strength of our approach and this book.

 What’s great about what you’ve achieved during the year?

The authors’ workshop was a great way to meet the other contributors and to get the project up and running. We are on track with our schedule, which includes a peer review process. The project will be highlighted at the WUN GAG public forum in Perth during the WUN Annual Conference on May 25 for which the panel theme is “Africa and Sustainable Development Agendas”.

When the book will be released?

The book should be out by early 2019, and we’re working to a structured set of timelines for submission. We don’t have an exact publication date yet but from the receipt of chapter Expressions of Interest to publication should be about 18 months, which is a great achievement.

To recap: what’s the book’s raison d’être?

The purpose of this book is to use the WUN Global Africa Group, as an international research network, to produce a multi-faceted volume exploring important relationships between the SDGs and Africa via a structured collaborative process that brings together expertise from both the continent and the wider network.

A central principle of this collaboration has been to have at least one African author and at least one WUN member-based co-author per chapter. We’ve also achieved a gender balance and included contributions by early career researchers and practitioners along with senior academics, which is an excellent achievement.

 

Africa and the Sustainable Development Goals, co-edited by Professor Maano Ramutsindela (University of Cape Town) and Dr David Mickler (University of Western Australia), will be published in early 2019 by Springer in its Sustainable Development Goals Series.