Ineffective international decision-making Absence of world level decision-making
The world currently has a complex collection of intergovernmental organizations of very limited effectiveness and which are generally subject to the vested interests of the major powers. They are divided into three main groups: the United Nations and its network of specialized agencies; the financial organizations associated with the World Bank; and those whose membership is limited to the richest countries (such as OECD or the Group of 7). These bodies give the appearance of being able to deal with every possible issue. But in fact their powers are extremely limited and their exact role in different domains is never clearly defined. They can only operate effectively when there is a consensus between member States. Such consensus is, with some rare exceptions, usually of a purely verbal nature. As a result the current system is unable to guarantee peace, it legitimates oppressive regimes, it systematically produces decisions favouring the most powerful (or against the general interest), it prevents any effective dialogue between the rich and the poor, and it provides a hypocritical cover for archaic mental structures in the name of the great principles of the UN charter.
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.