According to Professor Maano Ramutsindela, University of Cape Town (UCT) Dean of Science and co-editor of Africa and the Sustainable Development Goals, the book brings together over 80 researchers from a variety of disciplines on five continents to demonstrate an approach to an equitable global partnership in the production of knowledge relevant for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa.
Africa and the Sustainable Development Goals (Springer, 2020) will be launched at a live online event on 16 November 2020 at 15:00 SAST with both co-editors available for a Q&A.
Ramutsindela, who co-edited the book with Dr David Mickler of the University of Western Australia, explains that the book is unique both in the range of its research perspectives and because it does not take the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as given, it instead critically traces their development and the conditions under which they are implemented in Africa.
“Africa has witnessed many development plans that were imposed from outside that hardly improved the conditions of ordinary people. The SDGs are an aspirational blueprint for development because while they do not want to leave anyone behind, they do not as yet usher in a strong people-centred approach to development. This book places the SDGs in the context of an unequal, global economy and Africa’s own developmental pathways as articulated in the AU (African Union) Agenda 2063,” explains Ramutsindela.
A global framework with local impact
According to Mickler, it is difficult to overstate the importance of the SDGs.
“This book places the SDGs in the context of an unequal global economy and Africa’s own developmental pathways.”
“The SDGs set out a global framework and set of targets for sustainable development that implicate and impact all states and societies, from international collaboration to national policy to local activity,” he explains. For example, the SDG13 targets focus on combatting climate change and according to Mickler, they require action by both developing as well as developed states which, in turn, will impact people at local level, including communities living on the social, economic and ecological margins.
The book mirrors the breadth and scope of the complexity of SDGs in Africa with several chapters that analyse aspects of mining and their implications for governance and human development in different parts of the continent, and chapters on health systems, work conditions, agriculture and media.
“The book recognises both the scope of the SDGs as well as the diversity of the African continent and its peoples and resists all-encompassing claims and solutions,” Mickler says.
“Instead, through its process of bottom-up research collaboration, it highlights how a diverse group of scholars interprets the intersection of certain SDGs and local conditions in particular parts of Africa, while also accounting for national and regional development frameworks and priorities.”
A collaborative research network
In order to complete such a vast array of research inputs, the book harnessed the capacity and collaboration of the Worldwide Universities Network Global Africa Group (WUN GAG).
“With 26 chapters and over 80 contributing co-authors, this international research network made it possible to complete this project within a two-year timeframe, including workshops in Accra, Cape Town, Nairobi and Perth,” Mickler explains.
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