The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Practically all of the crops grown by man have important insect pests. Insects inflict damage on plants by their feeding and reproductive activities.
In some countries, even though health facilities are located within easy reach, inability to pay or cultural taboos put them out of bounds. To complicate matters, health systems are often devised outside the mainstream of social and economic development, frequently restricting themselves to medical care, although industrialization and deliberate alteration of the environment are creating health problems whose proper control lies far beyond the scope of medical care. Such services operate in an isolated manner, neglecting other factors contributing to human wellbeing such as education, communications, agriculture, social organization, community motivation and involvement. This ignores the fact that health cannot be attained by the health sector alone.
In developing countries in particular, economic development, anti-poverty measures, food production, water, sanitation, housing, environmental protection and education all contribute to health and have the same goal of human development. The pace of technological and economic development requires an intensified release of human energy, placing heightened importance on physical stamina as a precondition. However, although the current diet upon which people exist may appear to be ample, it lacks the nutritional balance to sustain regular participation in a modernized society. In addition, a whole complex of issues such as safe water, refrigeration and basic hygiene remain relatively undeveloped and therefore continues to perpetuate illness that drains vitality. The sheer number of people in the care of one doctor, the remoteness of proper medical facilities and the high cost of treatment prevent early detection of disease; continuation of energy-draining low-grade infections results in either long-lasting or permanently chronic defects. The care of the physical well-being of rural people when called upon to make such efforts at development is a crucial factor that cannot be neglected.