Since 2018, an institutional collaboration has been established between GLOMOS/Eurac Research and the Afromontane Research Unit of the University of the Free State (ARU-UFS) in South Africa. The partnership supported two research field campaigns in 2019, which saw GLOMOS/EURAC researchers spend periods of study and scientific exchange in South Africa and Lesotho.
Covering 40,000 km2, with elevations of up to 3,500 m, the Maloti-Drakensberg is an indispensable ecosystem for the entire southern African region. Not only is it the primary water catchment serving the region, but it also provides multiple ecosystem services to the surrounding lowlands. At the same time, the provision of ecosystem services is threatened by human activities and climate change.
The collaboration between GLOMOS and ARU-UFS brings together researchers from diverse disciplinary backgrounds, adopting a holistic approach in the investigation of social-ecological systems in the Maloti-Drakensberg mountains of South Africa and Lesotho. One research focus is on water availability and management, with research linking water scarcity in the lowlands with ecosystem health, natural resource exploitation, and environmental change in the highlands. A second strand of research investigates rural-urban-rural migration processes in the region within the mountain and sustainable development context.
Contact person: Jess Delves
Research team: Andrea Membretti & Jess Delves
Maloti Drakensberg, Kingdom of Lesotho, Photo: Joerg Szarzynski
Book compilation on the city of Phuthaditjhaba: “Developing a remote South African mountain city through the UN Sustainable Development Goals”
Together with colleagues from the Afromontane Research Unit of the University of the Free State (UFS) in South Africa, GLOMOS has initiated the compilation of a scientific book which will be published by Springer as part of its Sustainable Development Goals Series. The book is entitled: "Developing a remote South African mountain city through the UN Sustainable Development Goals".
This volume presents the many and varied challenges facing the sustainable development of Phuthaditjhaba, a Southern African city nestled in the foothills of the Maloti-Drakensberg Mountains, close to the border with Lesotho. Born as a so-called ‘homeland’ under apartheid, this city is now home to an estimated 400,000 people. Despite high levels of poverty and a lack of formal infrastructure and services, Phuthaditjhaba nevertheless has a rich cultural and social life.
The UN SDG framework is used as a lens to investigate different aspects of the city’s development from multiple perspectives. Particular focus is given to the role of the mountain environment, which in many ways has shaped the growth of the city and offers possibilities for future sustainable development pathways, particularly in tourism, natural resource management, and energy production.
The book has three main objectives:
to provide a reflection on the relevance and applicability of the SDGs in sustainable development in a case-study in the Global South,
to create an opportunity for a collective and international reflection on sustainable development in remote urban contexts,
to analyse and discuss the opportunities for place-based policies in a developing African mountain city.
The book’s more than 25 contributors hail from both southern Africa and Europe: academics and researchers are complemented by contributions from local stakeholders, practitioners, and decision-makers at regional and local levels.
The volume will find an audience among scholars and practitioners, as well as students at a local and potentially wider level. The volume is the first of its kind on sustainable development in this area of Southern Africa.
Contact person: Andrea Membretti
Research team: Andrea Membretti, Jess Delves, Stefan Schneiderbauer, Joerg Szarzynski