Insufficient provision of communication services Poor communications networks in rural areas
Telephone communication and reliable and rapid transportation is essential for the conduct of any serious commercial business. Impeding the flow of services, goods and people impedes development in the expanded context within which people presently operate. Both goods and people must move freely and rapidly if local socio-economic development is to move beyond the stage of a good idea. This flow must occur amongst small communities, urban districts, towns and villages, between the village and the province, the village and the nation, and the village and the world. Meanwhile, it is easier for many to travel to the national capital than it is to journey to the opposite side of the district.
Although many communities are experimenting with systems of communication that direct and organize an ever-increasing information flow to provide what people need in a usable form, many urban residents lack practical communication links with sources of necessary information. They are still hampered by the continuing decline of old information systems, physical isolation of high-rise living and disrupted employment patterns. Technological developments in utilities and services for domestic and industrial uses have not been made available to many rural communities, which often do not have services necessary to meet their present needs. Streets and sidewalks are often crumbling and full of potholes. Some communities have only one road connecting them with the outside world. There is often no public transport - bus services do not go to every community; or even if they do, late night or Sunday services often do not exist, thus limiting outside activities. Families who do not own vehicles must travel at the convenience of neighbours and friends. There is usually only one telephone, resulting in long trips for emergency calls. Such unavailability of basic services leads leads to a growing isolation that discourages the community's involvement in the development that is going on around it.
When local people discuss with concern the width and surface of the roads, they are pointing to something far beyond what they are able to articulate. Such matters are vitally related to market utility, personal relations and emergency health care. Community development will not occur if the time and energy drain, the sense of isolation - of being cut off or left out - and the anxiety over emergencies that the modern world creates are not dealt with directly and soon. The inadequate communications and transportation systems in many communities makes local development efforts insurmountable, and any significant move toward self-sufficiency is hard under these circumstances. In human terms, this creates and reinforces the resident's victimizing self-image of unimportance. Only when residents establish their priorities and initiate systematic action will a genuine re-creation of vital communication systems be possible.
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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