Absence of community consensus Inadequate procedures for community planning
The increasing complexity of community concerns gives rise to a need for comprehensive planning and for a network of local organizations. However, most communities have no stated community plan; a few individuals and organizations bear the full weight of making decisions and taking actions for the whole community. Often no single group has the knowledge or sources to take all factors into account before making a decision. Decisions must often be made quickly, frequently in a vacuum as the overall wishes of the community are unknown. The absence of broad community planning and of channels for implementing such plans leads to lack of consensus on issues and difficulty in organizing support for those who lead community programmes. Unsupported leaders become disillusioned and withdraw from further community involvement, thus depriving the community of their creativity. This waning of leadership willingness is accompanied by reluctance of new leadership to emerge.
At a time when the need for a cooperative effort to achieve economic and social development is coming to be understood, many small communities are deeply split. Decision-making typified by protection of private interest and failure to actually implement proposals lead to resentment of individual initiatives and a cynical attitude toward community participation. Because of these attitudes, few organizations or events enjoy the support of the entire community.
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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