Contemporary urban society has moved so decisively toward providing a network of social service agencies to cover the population's essential needs that people have come to depend upon their availability; yet these agencies frequently lack the coordination among themselves to serve a community effectively. Patchy knowledge of procedures, long waiting periods and confusing eligibility screening, combine to create the impression of structured isolation between agency and client, thereby increasing frustration. In the absence of regular inter-agency exchange, an individual agency lacks the total picture of the gaps and overlaps in available services which is necessary if it is to provide an adequate referral service. When a gap in services is pinpointed, expansion of services is hampered because of grant requirements which base funding on the number of people served: for example, a local drug clinic funded on the basis of the number of people in a methadone programme was blocked from expanding outreach programmes where funds were scarce. The service extended to recipients, in effect, became maintenance rather than rehabilitation.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a unique, experimental research work of the Union of International Associations. It is currently published as a searchable online platform with profiles of world problems, action strategies, and human values that are interlinked in novel and innovative ways. These connections are based on a range of relationships such as broader and narrower scope, aggravation, relatedness and more. By concentrating on these links and relationships, the Encyclopedia is uniquely positioned to bring focus to the complex and expansive sphere of global issues and their interconnected nature.
The initial content for the Encyclopedia was seeded from UIA’s Yearbook of International Organizations. UIA’s decades of collected data on the enormous variety of association life provided a broad initial perspective on the myriad problems of humanity. Recognizing that international associations are generally confronting world problems and developing action strategies based on particular values, the initial content was based on the descriptions, aims, titles and profiles of international associations.
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.