The Global Centre of Spatial Methods for Urban Sustainability (GCSMUS) has committed over 60 000 Euros (about P793 800) for its activities in Botswana in 2021 alone. This follows a five-year Cooperation Agreement University of Botswana (UB) and Technical University of Berlin (TU Berlin) in Germany signed to implement GCSMUS) activities in Botswana from 2020 to 2024.
UB through the Department of Sociology which is one of the lead partners of this global initiative, is represented by Professor Gabriel Faimau.
GCSMUS is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development via the DAAD programme “Higher Education Excellence in Development Cooperation – EXCEED.” DAAD is Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, German Academic Exchange Service.
Led by Professor Nina Baur and Professor Angela Million, the centre is based at TU Berlin in Germany and connects 48 institutional partners from 47 countries and eight world regions. Other Lead Partners include the Department of Sociology at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil and the Department of Architecture and Urban Design at IIT Roorkee in India.
Focusing on the Sustainable Development Goal #11 of the Agenda 2030 which aims to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”, the centre is organised as a peer-learning process and will implement several strategic activities between 2020 and 2024. This includes combined teaching-research-courses, Ph.D. and post-doctoral research projects, research workshops and international conferences.
Appreciating the leading role played by the University of Botswana in the GCSMUS initiative, Professor Nina Baur said, “the University of Botswana is the GCSMUS’s gateway for linking Africa to the rest of the world. The involvement of UB as a lead partner in conceiving the concept of the GCSMUS together with other lead partners from Brazil, India and Germany demonstrates a strong commitment to the advancement of urban sustainable development, knowledge sharing, exchange and implementation.”
Dr. Sethunya Mosime, Head of the Department of Sociology at UB, underlines the timely contribution of the global network and collaboration among students and experts in spatial methods from across a diversity of disciplines through the GCSMUS initiative.
“The GCSMUS conference and methodology workshops organised in collaboration with the University of Botswana will make Botswana the first country in Africa to host this important step towards caring economies and cities, changing the narrative about African cities as breeding grounds for squalor and danger,” she said.
For his part, Professor Gabriel Faimau, Lead Partner of GCSMUS at UB, added that “the GCSMUS provides an excellent platform for UB community to join a global network of researchers and scholars. Not only will the initiative inspire future collaborative research, but it will also contribute to the formation of a new generation of social science researchers and urban planning and design experts in Africa.”