Official information at the national level includes propaganda, statistics and reports. Information in the sense of reports and statistics may be very turgid reading and very lukewarm in expressing opinions. Government reports may also be isolated by national delimitation or sectoral coverage, so that the information cannot be analysed in its full context without extensive research. Terminology may be difficult for non-specialists to understand. Such information induces public apathy, ignorance and alienation and, where it only gives facts which are favourable to the government or its prestige, it may serve to mask injustices, exploitation, inequalities, and corruption.
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.