Limited availability of land for low-income and disadvantaged groups
Land for low-income and disadvantaged groups is a critical issue in both agricultural areas and in human settlements. There are gross inequalities in the distribution of rights to agricultural lands in most developing countries, and low income and disadvantaged groups are being excluded from adequate access to productive agricultural land. Poverty has been exacerbated by the unequal distribution of land and other assets associated with the rapid rise in population, which has compromised the ability to raise living standards. Together with growing demands for the commercial use of good land, often to grow crops for export, these have forced many subsistence farmers onto poor land, thus depriving them of any hope of participating in the economic development of their country. Similarly, traditional shifting cultivators, who maintained a stable relationship with the forests on which they depended, now have neither land enough nor time to let the forests re-establish. Extending cultivation onto steep, and especially deforested, slopes is increasing soil erosion. Extending such cultivation into river valleys often increases vulnerability to frequent flooding.
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.
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