There is a lack of software designed to meet the specific needs of cities in developing countries. Although many standard software packages are available for uses similar to the needs of developing countries, and although others can be adapted by operators with fundamental programming skills, the lack of specifically designed software fosters the impression that microcomputers are incapable of performing many of the functions needed, and discourages civic personnel who cannot distinguish programming from using microcomputers.
Many countries are rushing into computer without examining their needs. China, in 1984, imported $300 million worth of computer components to make 120,000 computers. By 1985 at least half of them were unused because of shortages of skilled users and software programmes.
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.