Many factors are responsible for the rising number of disabled persons and the relegation of disabled persons to the margin of society. These include: wars, and the consequences of wars and other forms of violence and destruction (poverty, hunger, epidemics, major shifts in population); a high proportion of overburdened and impoverished families; overcrowded and unhealthy housing and living conditions; populations with a high proportion of illiteracy and little awareness of basic social services or of health and education measures; an absence of accurate knowledge about disability, its causes, prevention and treatment, including stigma, discrimination and misconceived ideas on disability; inadequate programmes of primary health care and services; constraints, including a lack of resources, geographical distance, physical and social barriers, that make it impossible for many people to take advantage of available services; the channelling of resources to highly specialized services that are not relevant to the needs of the majority of people who need help; the absence or weakness of an infrastructure of related services for social assistance, health, education, vocational training and placement; low priority in social and economic development for activities related to equalization of opportunities, disability prevention and rehabilitation; low priority in social and economic development for activities related to equalization of opportunities, disability prevention and rehabilitation; industrial, agricultural and transportation-related accidents; natural disaster and earthquake; pollution of the physical environment; stress and other psycho- social problems associated with the transition from a traditional to a modern society; the imprudent use of medication, the misuse of therapeutic substances and the illicit use of drugs and stimulants; the faulty treatment of injured persons at the time of a disaster, which can be the cause of avoidable disability; urbanization and population growth; and other indirect factors.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a unique, experimental research work of the Union of International Associations. It is currently published as a searchable online platform with profiles of world problems, action strategies, and human values that are interlinked in novel and innovative ways. These connections are based on a range of relationships such as broader and narrower scope, aggravation, relatedness and more. By concentrating on these links and relationships, the Encyclopedia is uniquely positioned to bring focus to the complex and expansive sphere of global issues and their interconnected nature.
The initial content for the Encyclopedia was seeded from UIA’s Yearbook of International Organizations. UIA’s decades of collected data on the enormous variety of association life provided a broad initial perspective on the myriad problems of humanity. Recognizing that international associations are generally confronting world problems and developing action strategies based on particular values, the initial content was based on the descriptions, aims, titles and profiles of international associations.
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.