Without the revenues from mineral and metals, many mineral producing countries would be unable to pay for imports and service their debt. However, over the last years, the terms of trade between exported minerals and imported equipment have seriously deteriorated. The deep depression of metal prices from 1981 to 1986 led many to question the future for minerals and metals. This does not only concern the base metals used extensively in industrial development (iron, copper, nickel, lead, zinc, aluminium), but also the precious minerals and metals generating ready cash (gold, diamonds, silver), the agricultural minerals (phosphates, potash) and the industrial minerals and construction materials.
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.