Lack of international legal provision for nongovernmental organizations
NGOs and INGOs have no legal status within the framework of international law. They are therefore not recognized as having any international 'existence' in a legal sense, with the consequence that any governmental or scholarly attention which depends on such recognition is absent. The absence of such legislation ensures the INGOs are unprotected (as 'outlaws') and do not operate within anything but a self-imposed code of responsibilities. Their activities are not aided by facilitative arrangements, as is the case with the international activities of commercial enterprises. The absence of such legislation deprives national governments of any stimulus to generate national legislation to accommodate INGOs based in a particular country. Since they are not recognized internationally, some countries view with great suspicion the participation of their nationals or national groups as members of such bodies. There is also suspicion concerning the (field-level) programmes of such INGOs in a particular country, which may be construed as interference in internal affairs or as a cover for politically subversive activity.
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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