Discouraged citizen participation Reluctant personal participation Unrecognized benefits from corporate action
Many small communities are reluctant to work together for the betterment of the entire population. This may be due to several reasons: there is often a sense that the issues are too complex to be solved; individuals may be reluctant to relinquish their personal power; sometimes there is a belief that those who were capable of dealing with the problems have already left the community for more fulfilling avenues, and that those who remain have neither the imagination nor the energy demanded for community action; past development efforts may have been left unfinished, reinforcing the sense that little can change. Suggestions for development tend to meet with a negative response - reasons why such a thing could not work, or why the community is not in a position to approach public or private sources for assistance. There is therefore a need to try new alternatives in total community development able to meet perceived needs and to mobilize the community's latent human resources.
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.