Providing criticism of economic and social restructuring policies
Civil society organizations and environment and development NGOs, in both industrial and developing countries, have led in criticism of structural adjustment efforts of the World Bank, which are often designed in Washington or with a borrowing government's finance ministry with little prior consultation of affected populations. Bank programmes and projects have been widely criticized for waste, environmental destruction, social dislocation and even corruption. A particular criticism is that the programmes do not benefit poor people or target poverty reduction. In response, the Bank has adopted a plan to increase popular participation in projects and policies; increased lending for health, education and population; cancelled several dam and large infrastructure projects which might have damaged the environment and displaced people; and initiated a joint Bank-NGO review of the social and economic impact of structural adjustment. However, it is claimed that changes in practice still lag behind changes in rhetoric and in policy.
Critics of the World Bank, especially environmentalists in the USA, have been responsible for the recent deep cuts in funding for low-interest loans for development through the IDA programme.
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.