In the period from 1983 to 1986 the percentage of the developing world's GNP going to education has decreased by 10.5% according to the World Bank's "World Development Report 1988". And according to a UNESCO report spending per head on education in the 37 poorest nations of the world has declined by 50%. Educational quality is declining. Enrolments are stagnating. Students are dropping out of primary school in massive numbers. Teacher's pay is inadequate. At the same time spending on the military is 30% higher than spending on health and education combined. The children of the poor pay the most for cuts in spending on education.
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.