The most worrying feature of the current globalization process is the widening fissure between the very poor - representing approximately 20% of the world's population - and the remaining majority. Despite improvements in life expectancy and standards of living in many parts of the world during the past several decades, there remain enormous and persistent economic differences between regions and countries, and particularly between the industrialized and developing nations. The absolute number of poor people in the world has continued to increase and disparities between the rich and the poor have widened even further. In developing countries, the growth in social demands has been triggered largely by population increases during the last four decades. Coupled with a significant slow-down in population growth in the industrialized nations, this has led to a highly skewed world-wide distribution of social needs and of the capabilities to satisfy them.
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.