Most countries are faced with arduous problems over placement, in the various sectors of organized activity, of young people between 14 and 18 years of age who do not have the requisite qualifications for any specific employment.
The competition for jobs drives wages down to below subsistence levels for these youths and leads to their exploitation. Large pools of unskilled, cheap labour have not been incorporated in national and local developmental programmes, although their accumulated efforts could bring substantial social improvements. Governmental programmes are lacking, which is not surprising since cheap labour is in the interests of profiteers: only a large number of unemployed youth guarantees low wage levels. In the USA in 1993, only 3.2% of college graduates were unemployed, while the figure was 11.5% for high school dropouts.
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.