WorldFish appoints Dr. Cristina Rumbaitis del Rio to board

Cecily Layzell -

Dr. Cristina Rumbaitis del Rio has a background in climate change resilience

WorldFish is pleased to welcome Dr. Cristina Rumbaitis del Rio to its Board of Trustees. She joins Director General Gareth Johnstone, Board Chair Yvonne Pinto and six other members in providing strategic direction and effective governance and leadership of the organization.

“I am very excited about joining the board and seeing what this great and proud organization and its talented people can achieve,”  Rumbaitis del Rio said of her appointment.

Currently based in Delhi, India, she is the Regional Program Manager for Action on Climate Today, a program supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) that seeks to mainstream climate change resilience into development planning and budgeting at the national and sub-national level in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Climate change adaptation in Cambodia

Climate change adaptation: Houses are built on stilts while floodwater and flooded forests provide a range of ecosystem services, such as fish and fuel wood, Muk Wat village, Cambodia. Photo by Sanjiv de Silva/IWMI.

Research-to-policy continuum

From 2007–2015, Rumbaitis del Rio worked at the Rockefeller Foundation in New York, when she first came into contact with WorldFish. As Senior Associate Director, she helped to develop the foundation’s initiatives to build resilience for poor and vulnerable people who will be affected by climate change, as well as projects related to water management, small-scale fisheries and preservation of ecosystems and the services they provide to humankind.

She was previously a postdoctoral fellow conducting research on sustainable development at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. She also did policy research for the United Nations Environmental Program, the US Department of State and other institutions.

“I am really interested in how WorldFish can bring cutting-edge research on aquaculture and small-scale fisheries to inform policies and practice affecting the lives of the 800 million people who depend on fish for their livelihoods, nutrition and resilience,” she said. “Throughout my career, I have worked on the research-to-policy continuum and have seen how well-targeted, robust research can have a transformational impact on people’s lives. With the other board members, I am excited to help the organization choose strategic directions that will realize this transformational impact.”

Presentations on climate change adaptations

Presentations on climate change adaptations in Batugade, Timor-Leste. Photo by Sharon Suri.

Strategic appointment

Climate change is a key crosscutting theme in both the WorldFish and FISH strategies. Through our research on climate change, we intend to provide new knowledge on how to make fisheries and aquaculture systems more resilient.

“We are delighted that Cristina Rumbaitis del Rio has joined the board,” said Johnstone. “She not only brings 15 years of sustainable development and management experience to the role, but her strong background in the climate change space, first as a researcher and now as a policy influencer, will be an invaluable asset as we progress toward our ambitious impact targets.”


Cecily Layzell

Cecily Layzell

Cecily Layzell is a communications specialist, with more than 15 years' experience working for a range of corporate and not-for-profit organizations in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. She holds a journalism diploma and an MA in food security.

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