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Spotlight: Developing real local impacts, “drop by drop”


Rongkun Liu, a Fellow in this year’s Adaptation to Climate Change contest, brings his enthusiasm, expertise and experience in climate change adaptation to the Climate CoLab.

A thorough understanding of both adaptation and  contest processes stems from Rongkun’s past participation as a volunteer assessor for the World Bank’s Development Marketplace project, where he helped identify 100 finalists to receive the grant of the Global Development Marketplace Competition on Climate Adaptation (DM2009). Today, he continues to stay active in the climate field through meaningful community-based projects in Tibet.

We talked with Rongkun about details of his adaptation work in Tibet and of new role with Climate CoLab as a 2014 Fellow— here’s what he shared with us:

During my recent work, I have implemented community-based projects that aimed to help local Tibetans to better adapt to climate-induced hazards such as seasonal flash floods by building flood control dams and irrigation watercourses in the Qomolangma (Mt Everest) National Nature Preserve in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China.

Now I am working with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development to organize research on freshwater ecosystem services assessment in the upstream Koshi River basin, a transboundary river basin shared by China, Nepal and India. And part of my work is to identify what key freshwater ecosystem services there are in the river basin for local Tibetan communities, and how these ecosystem services are impacted by climate change.

By joining this dynamic group as a Climate CoLab Fellow, I am provided with an opportunity to expand my knowledge and exposure to climate change issues, learn from and interact with respected experts, like-minded professionals and peers in the fields of sustainability and climate change.

The most enjoyable part of being a Fellow is to interact with people from a variety of backgrounds, who have passion and take initiatives to make things happen. I look forward to reading of others’ ideas and providing support to these climate practitioners like me to render positive changes locally, but collectively in the world.

As our contest Advisor Dr. Larry Susskind of MIT notes, adaptation is really a local phenomenon; it is not something that we would deal with at a national level. In this respect, active participation and involvement of local communities play a critical role while putting forward adaptation efforts. I envision this contest to draw multiple innovative, feasible and pragmatic approaches and strategies to generate some changes in tackling climate change, even just for a village or a small group of people, because I am firmly convinced that a slight fulfillment outweighs an ambitious promise, as “drop by drop, a creek is formed.”

Check out the Adaptation to Climate Change contest here!: