In many countries, the public sector owns the most polluting industries and controls important natural resources. The public sector tends to follow environmental criteria less well, be less efficient, uses more resources, and creates more waste than the private sector. One of the main reasons for this difference is that the public sector can have great difficulties in self-regulation. The public sector is in essence governed by itself, the government, or in other words is both "the poacher and the gamekeeper". There is agreement that there needs to be greater separation between the regulator and the regulated by greater privatization of the public sector or by establishing autonomous regulatory bodies to regulate the public sector.
The environmental problems of eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union demonstrate the environmental degradation as a result of public sector shortcomings.
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.
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