Integrating sciences relevant to environmental questions Integrating sciences relevant to the environment at all political and geographic levels
One challenge is to develop integrated approaches to planning and analysis. A key constraint to the emergence of strong sustainability institutions is the fragmentation of research into disciplines, government units into sectors, and so on. Designing frameworks for linking across subjects and sectors, over various spatial scales, regions and themes, to give a more integrated perspective, is becoming essential to a full understanding of the planetary and human environments.
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities. Agenda 21 recommends intensifying research to integrate the physical, economic and social sciences so as to understand better the impact of economic and social behaviour on the environment and of environmental degradation on local and global economies. It also recommends integrating all relevant sciences at the national, regional and global levels so to have the means of carrying out national and regional audits and a five-year global audit on an integrated basis. These standardized audits should help refine the pattern and character of development, examining in particular the capacities of global and regional life-supporting systems to meet the needs of human and non-human life forms and identifying areas and resources vulnerable to further degradation.
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.