The most rigorous examinations of a trained person's qualifications and competence occur at the beginning of their careers and rarely, if ever, again. Maintenance and upgrading of skills may be encouraged, but is largely optional. Professional associations which have the responsibility for overseeing standards, and dealing with complaints about individual practitioners, rarely take action to prevent that peron from practising. Professional success or reputation may be won more by personal charm, or by the simple market mechanism of supply and demand, or the inbuilt prejudices of the system, than by ability or character.
Professional self-regulation is ineffective. It is usually the case that unfit practitioners first come to their attention of professional monitoring bodies when they are convicted by the courts or the subject of formal public complaint. Since only cases which suggest seriously poor performance attract the procedures of professional investigative bodies, the less serious, but nevertheless potentially disastrous cases remain.
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.