Science and technology, and knowledge in general, have developed at such a rate and in such a way that it is no longer possible for one person to maintain an integrated overview or to provide any viable synthesis of the perspectives of different disciplines. In addition, no effort is made to educate people as generalists capable of responding, even in a limited manner, to the insights of a wide range of disciplines. Education, training, and work skills are compartmentalized. As a result, it is left to the person administering a project to make use of whatever scattered items of information and advice appear relevant in terms of whatever educational background and experience he may have had.
The fewer functions any device is required to perform, the more perfectly it can perform those functions.
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.