A great number of people are forcibly uprooted from their homes without crossing national frontiers. Refugees displaced within a country or jurisdiction cannot be assisted by international bodies and are all too often deprived of care because opposing forces in any conflict deny humanitarian organizations access to the places where they are located. Such refugees thus run the risk of premature death because of the unhealthy conditions to which they are exposed, malnutrition and the risk of epidemics.
In 1993 it was estimated that the number of displaced people who have been driven from home but have not crossed international borders -- in former Yugoslavia, in the republics of the former Soviet Union (including Georgia, Azerbaijan, Moldova and Tajikistan), in Iraq and elsewhere -- total around 24 million. Many of them are beyond help from humanitarian agencies.
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.