For a long time the Rockefeller Foundation had understood that changes in agriculture fostered moves away from the land in many poorer countries. Even in Asia, where most people still live in rural communities, the migration to cities had been rapidly accelerating. In 2010, for the first time, more people around the world were living in urban than in rural areas.
A farmer works on his plot of land, part of an urban farming project run by the Chiang Rai municipality, on Nov 1 last year.
Appreciating the seriousness of these basic realities has led the foundation to commit to several major initiatives, each receiving detailed study and planning. Three of these initiatives, rolled out in the last few years, owe much to the foundation’s legacy in Thailand. They are the “Climate Change Resilience Initiative”, the “Transforming Health Systems Initiative” (THS), and the “Disease Surveillance Networks Initiative” (DSN). Each represents a more “systems-oriented” approach than was the case with previous efforts, which centred on programmes, projects, and themes.
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