Preventing environmental degradation Combatting degradation of the environment Initiating campaigns against environmental degradation Addressing the root causes of environmental degradation
Means must be found to tackle the root causes of environmental problems, many of which are unaffected by strictly environmental policies. Resource consumption, for example, is a key driver of environmental degradation. Policy measures to attack this issue must reduce population growth, reorient consumption patterns, increase resource use efficiency and make structural changes to the economy. Ideally, such measures must simultaneously maintain the living standards of the wealthy, upgrade the living standards of the disadvantaged, and increase sustainability. Inevitably, this will require a shift in values away from material consumption. Without such a shift, environmental policies can effect only marginal improvements.
The recognition of the global nature of environmental challenges in Stockholm, in 1972, and the coupling of environmental issues to those of development in Rio de Janeiro twenty years later, has led to significant progress to reverse environmental degradation. However, the facts and figures of UNEP's Global Environment Outlook 2000 state clearly that the challenges of sustainability still overwhelm the adequacy of our responses.
Some policy measures are better than others in dealing with root causes. Taxing resource use rather than employment is one possible measure introduced with success in some countries of the European Union. Reforming subsidies for resource-intensive, polluting sectors is another. Use of the best available technology and production processes - incorporating the principles of cleaner production and eco-efficiency - could reduce environmental pressures by a factor of two to five.
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.