Crisis management approach to long-term development policy-making Obstruction of change by crisis and emergency responses Immediacy orientation of elected bodies Short-sighted planning Short-range development strategy Short-term problem solving Fire-fighting policy mentality
By definition, a crisis is a short-term problem. It evokes improvised remedies and palliatives. But real solutions call for long-term policies; prevention rather than cure, or cures which facilitate prevention. Ad-hoc policies have then to be seen as underpinnings of an integrated long-term solution strategy. If each crisis becomes an isolated problem to be somehow resolved, then this encourages a fragmented approach. The real danger is that priorities become dominated by problems of the immediate, and the fundamental task of change in the social framework is neglected, perhaps even suspended. When pressures build up for real changes in institutions and values, people are asked to hold their peace so that the immediate crisis can be dealt with. Such appeals for patience and order in the name of smooth functioning can often be clever rationalization of the status quo. Thus a crisis psychology provides succour and respite to forces that resist change.
To be sustainable, policyu changes need to be intrernalized in the local context, requiring a learning and participative approach to development. Responses to crisis are most difficult to implement where they are most needed. In a context of underdevelopment, characterized by extensive unfulfilled basic needs, the capacity to adjust and adapt is limited. The resources are seldom provided to allow for longer term programmes that can entail individual and social learning essential to self-development.
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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