Managing a host of urban issues including: urban air pollution; protecting people from hazardous wastes; disposal of municipal, industrial, solid and liquid waste; conserving common resources; water supply; sanitation; and matters relating to the link between health, poverty and the environment.
The world's major cities are getting bigger; by 2005 half of humanity will live in cities and urban agglomerations. This demographic shift will place an intolerable burden on urban environments and civic facilities. Increasingly, city residents will live in filthy environment that will threaten their health and stunt economic progress. The urban poor will continue to be the hardest hit by this urbanization boom.
There is no simple way to merge "green" and "brown" agenda issues. Cities are the engines of economic growth and their problems required greater government decentralization and citizens' participation to stimulate local communities toward finding solutions based on their own potential. Progress can be achieved only by linking urban environmental initiatives to national policy frameworks and action plans. In essence, local problems need to be included in national debates, but emphasis must remain on local capacities, initiatives and resources.
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.