Vulnerability of island developing countries and territories
Island developing societies share common problems. Many of these are similar to those of small states and territories, or developing countries in general, although aggravated by transportation and communication difficulties. Unique problems are: exposure to the elements and natural disasters; ecological vulnerability to imported diseases of all types; and particular hardships in maintaining infrastructures in archipelago and multiple island states. Island countries may depend economically on the presence of foreign military bases, and because of difficulty of maintaining coastal defences, may be threatened by military intervention. Dozens of these countries and territories are remotely situated more than 500 kilometres from continents.
The Federated States of Micronesia are typical of Pacific islands powerless against climate change and environmental pollution. Most islands are barely 5 metres above sea level. Since 1985, cyclone devastation and saline penetration of freshwater due to rising sea levels has been added to seasonally irregular fishing patterns and unexplained dying of coral, threatening physical and cultural extinction.
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.