Unbalanced distribution of knowledge Inequiteable distribtion of knowledge
While the complexities of global life require more internationally oriented knowledge as well as knowledge of basic and behavioural sciences and applied technology, such knowledge is poorly distributed. In the main, information is delivered through school-situated learning and in the adult years, mass media (particularly newspapers, magazines, videos and radio and television broadcasts) provide the distribution. In addition, books are important. These include textbooks, reference works, research publications and non-fiction works as well as literature. All of these sources, however, are subject to filtering, selection and even censorship on the part of their creators and deliverers. Individuals and countries who lack economic advantage have limited access, and this places another obstacle in the way of their development.
World book production was estimated as 546,000 titles in 1970: Africa 8,000 (23 titles per million inhabitants), North America 90,000 (280 per million), South America 15,000 (79 per million), Asia 100,000 (49 per million), Europe 247,000 (535 per million), Oceania 7,000 (361 per million), USSR 79,000 (329 per million).
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.