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Zakia's academic background is primarily in Economics and Sustainability with an undergraduate degree in Economics and Law and a graduate degree from the University of Potsdam in International Economics. During the course of her studies and various internships, Zakia's research experiences spanned from international sustainable development and energy economics to climate change mitigation and socio-economic impacts of natural resource management. Her master's thesis focused on the future of energy in Mauritius in which she developed and analyzed potential energy scenarios using the LEAP software.
After graduating, her recent endeavors geared more towards sustainable transportation transition and future mobility technologies and development. She gained experience in both Federal and European-wide project management in those fields by working as a research assistant at VDI/VDE-IT in Berlin, where she worked extensively on electric mobility and its integration process. It was within the scope of this work experience that inspired Zakia in shaping her PhD idea. Zakia's research work is focused on exploring potential pathways at the nexus of mobility and renewable energy systems by creating a modelling and evaluation tool with a special focus on island states.
She is committed to protecting the unique environment of island states and is keen to utilize her deep passion for people and nature to encourage others to organize, take action, and ultimately see a holistically vibrant and healthy Mauritius come to fruition. She enjoys yoga, hiking, and all things ocean-friendly.
"Accelerating towards Sustainable Mobility: Modelling and Analysis of the Sustainable Mobility Transition in Mauritius."
To be successful in meeting the sector's carbon emissions reduction targets and contribute to limiting global warming to less than 2°C, the transportation sector cannot continue to develop under a business-as-usual scenario. Globally the transportation industry contributes almost one-quarter (23 percent) of the current global energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and is growing faster than any other energy end-use sector. GHG emissions from transport are anticipated to rise from today's levels by nearly 20 percent by 2030 and close to 50 percent by year 2050.
Small island developing states, with their remoteness and insularity, face specific daunting challenges in transportation. As a rapidly urbanizing SIDS, Mauritius has proven to be an interesting case from the this perspective, exhibiting many of the transport problems facing other countries with land constraints, such as worsening congestion, air pollutions and traffic accidents. The primary goal of this doctoral research is to explore and present transformation pathways considering present and future economic, environmental, and technical parameters. The first stage will look at the status quo of the transportation sector in Mauritius and identify key enablers and changes needed to leapfrog to a sustainable transportation system. Being an island state, Mauritius is an ideal case study with its ability to act as a living laboratory in demonstrating sustainable solution which can then be extrapolated to other developing countries.
With special considerations to the specific constraints regarding SIDS, the second phase will develop a tool so as to simulate and model different pathways towards decarbonization. The final part of the thesis will propose solutions and initiatives to policy makers and other interested stakeholders based on thorough considerations of the scenario building and the environmental and socio-economic relevance. Thus, the work is built upon the overarching hypothesis that a scenario- based modelling and analysis methodology will enable accurate forecasting of the transformation framework towards a sustainable transformation system.
As changing climate threatens Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) like Mauritius, an uncertain future at the crossroads of sustainability and economic development lies ahead. In light of the COP21-established goals, nations are expanding their decarbonization aims beyond the electricity sector; with transportation being one of most carbon-intensive sector. Transitioning to a sustainable transportation system is extremely vital at this point. Given the dynamic economic development and environmental pressures, further research and adaptation plans are essential. Being an island state, Mauritius is an ideal case study and with this dissertation, sustainable transition pathways involving the transportation and energy sectors will be investigated.
My project looks at the current status quo of, primarily, the transportation system in Mauritius.