Restriction of funding for research on social problems
Research groups conducting projects related to the study of social programmes invariably require funding; but applications by such researchers and response from the funders are often restricted. This is due largely to an inadequate image of human welfare primarily as economic security rather than as encompassing significant participation in the whole of life. Funds necessary for sustaining research are often directed to projects which are popular or prestigious, while those willing to undertake research on broader social problems are prevented from doing so by lack of finance. The most needed skills are often not developed, researchers seeking the status or economic advantage attached to "pure research" and neglecting the more crucial areas.
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.