Students from Zayed University launch new Sustainability Club with ambitious plans for COP 28

24 Jan 2023

A group of students at Zayed University have launched a new Sustainability Club with ambitious plans to raise awareness of issues around climate change and promote the UAE’s target to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The club is seeking to raise awareness of issues around sustainability and promotes an interdisciplinary approach to tackling issues around climate change, in particular looking at the role businesses can play in this area. The club is led by Alia Abdulmajeed Hussain Abdulrahim Ahli, a second-year student in Zayed University’s College of Interdisciplinary Studies. She is supported by the official club supervisor Dr Suzanna El Massah, who also leads Zayed University’s newly established interdisciplinary undergraduate programs in Sustainability.

At the club’s first event, held at the Zayed University campus in Dubai on 18 January, the “Path to COP 28” initiative was announced. This initiative seeks to provide students with the knowledge and skills to act as student ambassadors at the COP 28 event to be held in the UAE later this year.

The club was created after the students from Zayed University were selected to participate in a UN sponsored COP 27 Simulation Model at the British University in Cairo. Their contribution at this event was recognised by the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment who then invited the group to host an event at the official COP 27 summit in November last year.

Speaking after the launch event, ZU student Alia Ahli, said: “This is a hugely important year for the UAE, and it is vital that the youth in this country engage in the COP 28 process. Our two visits to Cairo last year for COP 27 cemented in my mind the importance of a holistic and interdisciplinary approach to tackling issues around sustainability. This club enables us as ZU students to play our part and we look forward to delivering a range of initiatives and a busy calendar of events in the build-up to the main event later this year.”

Speakers from Carbon Middle East gave a presentation during the club’s first event which looked at the subject of sustainable packaging. This followed the UAE’s newly announced ban on single-use plastic shopping bags, which will take effect in 2024. A similar ban will also apply to plastic cups, plates and cutlery from January 2026.

Suzanna El Massah, Zayed University’s Sustainability Program Lead, added “I am so pleased that the students we took from ZU to COP 27 have been inspired to set up this club. This shows the impact COP 28 can have in inspiring a generation of young Emiratis to tackle issues around sustainability and help deliver the ambitious agenda the UAE government has in this area. Clubs like this one, give students both a voice and a platform to learn and I am proud to support this student-led initiative.”

About Zayed University

As the UAE’s flagship higher education institute Zayed University is a national and regional leader in education innovation. Founded in 1998 and proudly bearing the name of the Founder of the Nation – the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan – it is one of the Middle East’s leading universities for student development and research. The University proudly serves the needs of the nation and contributes to the UAE’s economic, social, and cultural progress.

Led by Her Excellency Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth and President of Zayed University, the UAE’s flagship university currently enrolls over 10,000 Emirati and international students. Zayed University offers a range of diverse and internationally recognized undergraduate and graduate programs at state-of-the-art campuses located in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Through research, scholarship, creative activities and outreach, Zayed University provides educational leadership, expands opportunity, and enriches the knowledge of local, regional, and global communities.

The University is proud of its role in encouraging academic excellence, promoting leadership skills and advancing knowledge.