Intellectual confusion concerning the role of the United Nations
A considerable degree of uncertainty and confusion prevails as to the nature and role of the UN. This is aggravated by the tendency of the UN system: to define its mandate in an unreal fashion; to try to give the impression that the outputs from its activities have a direct effect on the internal realities of States; to maintain a permanent state of confusion between the functions of negotiating or seeking greater consensus on the one hand, and the functions of management on the other.
A perusal of the texts, resolutions or documents of the UN tell very little about the real nature of the system. The basic instruments indicate a real hiatus between hard facts and mere talk, inasmuch as they tend to present as normal functions terms of reference which are totally unrealistic. The thousand of resolutions adopted every year, the planning and programming documents describing theoretically the objectives and strategies of organizations, do not supply an appreciably greater amount of information. Nor is it possible to refer to documents evaluating the results obtained, since there are virtually none and that those who claim to be performing this task have a limited threshold of credibility because of their lack of criteria and methods.
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.