Developing policies to halt and reverse the two major harbingers of unsustainable development -- massive resource degradation and population growth. These include cross-sectoral issues (particularly trade, financial mechanisms, structural adjustment and technology transfer) and sectoral issues (including biodiversity, forests, agriculture and pesticides).
At the Earth Summit in Rio (1992), the phrase "sustainable development" became a vital instrument in focusing attention on the need for better environmental stewardship. The concept of sustainability, however goes well beyond the protection of natural resources. It also encompasses human welfare in the broadest sense, including education, health, equality of opportunity, and political and civil rights.
The Society for Development Alternatives recommends a seven-point programme to which all future development action be directly assigned above all other priorities: (a) satisfying the basic needs of every citizen; (b) fulfilling the potential of children; (c) raising the status and self-determination of women; (d) creating meaningful work and living wages for all; (e) enlarging the possibilities for social advancement; (f) enhancing the personal security of old people; (g) facilitating access to the means of family planning.
Too often, action to achieve objectives for sustainable development in one policy area hinders progress in another, while solutions to problems often lie in the hands of policy makers in other sectors or at other levels of government. This is a major cause of many long-term unsustainable trends. In addition the absence of a coherent long-term perspective means that there is too much focus on short-term costs and too little focus on the prospect of longer term "win-win" situations.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a unique, experimental research work of the Union of International Associations. It is currently published as a searchable online platform with profiles of world problems, action strategies, and human values that are interlinked in novel and innovative ways. These connections are based on a range of relationships such as broader and narrower scope, aggravation, relatedness and more. By concentrating on these links and relationships, the Encyclopedia is uniquely positioned to bring focus to the complex and expansive sphere of global issues and their interconnected nature.
The initial content for the Encyclopedia was seeded from UIA’s Yearbook of International Organizations. UIA’s decades of collected data on the enormous variety of association life provided a broad initial perspective on the myriad problems of humanity. Recognizing that international associations are generally confronting world problems and developing action strategies based on particular values, the initial content was based on the descriptions, aims, titles and profiles of international associations.
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.