Most inner-city residents find themselves without the power to significantly influence or fully understand the forces that act upon their environment. Knowing that every type of service is available they expect an effective response; but they find themselves faced by a mass of forms, guidelines and directives. The administrative procedures and bureaucratic systems which must be understood in order to survive in the urban community have become paralyzing in their complexity. There is a bewildering set of options from which to choose in order to obtain services for basic needs. Few individuals in one community service possess the expertise needed to liaise liaison with other administrative structures. Frustrated with the multitude of misunderstood referrals needed and often unable to follow them through far enough to accomplish the task, residents increasingly mistrust administrative structures. Until new forms of community advocacy are developed and made readily available to every citizen, the engagement of urban residents will continue to be inhibited.
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.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.