In many languages the spelling of words and rules for spelling are subject to change. For some languages there are controlling bodies which can cause sudden changes in the official spelling; where there is no such central body, spelling can vary in different regions. In either case, considerable difficulty and confusion is created in the education system; in the many sectors of society which produce typewritten or printed texts; and in information retrieval, such as dictionaries, lists and automated systems. Older generations adapt slowly and with difficulty to such changes.
The English language, influenced by developments in the USA, has several variations in spelling, some of which are not accepted in other English-speaking countries. In German, efforts are being made to approve a switch to uncapitalized nouns because the capitalizing rules are so complex. The spelling of Dutch and Flemish has been subject to a number of official modifications in recent years, and efforts are underway for a reform of French spelling.
Spoken languages are bound to change, and consequent changes to established orthographic standards are, therefore, unavoidable. Changes in language are a source of difficulties (for young and old) whether orthographic standards remain stable or not.
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.