Sectoral fragmentation of institutional responsibility
Most of the institutions with mandates to deal with the challenges of society at this time tend to be independent, fragmented and working to relatively narrow mandates with closed decision processes. The mandates of central economic and sectoral ministries of government are also often too narrow and too concerned with quantities of production or growth. They deal with one sector or industry in isolation, failing to recognize the importance of intersectoral linkages. These intersectoral connections create patterns of economic and ecological interdependence rarely reflected in the ways in which policy is made. Those responsible for managing natural resources and protecting the environment are institutionally separated from those responsible for managing the economy. Such institutions, and the policies which they engender, are inadequate in the face of the interlocked economic and ecological systems. Sectoral organizations tend to pursue sectoral objectives and to treat their impacts on other sectors as side effects, to be taken into account only if compelled to do so.
Many of the environment and development problems confronting society have their roots in sectoral fragmentation of responsibility. This reinforces the difficulties of achieving sustainable development.
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.
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