Using systems thinking Applying systems ecology Studying whole systems
Thinking about the world in terms of relationships, connectedness and context.
Some definitions of systems are: 1. A set of objects together with relationships between the objects and between their attributes. Objects are parts or components of the system such as: atoms, stars, switches, masses, bones, neurons, gases, genes, etc, including abstract objects such as: mathematical variables, equations, rules and laws, processes, etc, and social actors such as: individuals, groups, communities, nations, etc; 2. Some form in structure or operation, concept or function, composed of united and integrated parts; 3. Any set of interrelating elements, including: any one of the concrete systems from solar system to molecule and electron, from cell to organism, together with personality, small group, formal organization, political system, economic system, and social system; a system of rules or procedures; a theoretical system bringing together various concepts and generalizations for the purpose of description, explanation or prediction.
Systems ecology is a combination of approaches of systems analysis and the ecology of whole ecosystems when viewed as interdependent and functionally interacting components. The approach is based on an analysis of the network of relationships between organisms and organs, at any level of subdivision, within plant or animal communities. Such relationships need not be expressed as quantitative functions but may be expressed as the presence or absence of flows in a particular direction of material or energy. They may also express alternative pathways of development or direction of change in the organic or inorganic parts of the system.
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.