The UN Department of Public Information's 47th Annual Conference for NGOs (New York, September 1994) was on the theme "We the Peoples: Building Peace". Over 1,400 participants from sixty countries gathered to discuss the potential roles of NGOs in areas of peacemaking, peace-keeping and peace-building. Senior UN officials addressed the vital role NGOs must play in electoral assistance; human rights monitoring; delivery of humanitarian assistance; and post-conflict national reconstruction.
NGOs can foster awareness within local communities of their central role in maintaining and guarding peace.
International institutions have increasingly been called upon to mediate and, in some cases, to intervene in national and regional disputes as peacekeepers/peacemakers. The scale and expense of these operations has tended to overshadow the vital role that NGOs play in promoting and maintaining peace and in providing humanitarian assistance to all parties concerned.
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.