Efforts to improve the water supplies used by people in rural areas of developing countries have run into serious obstacles: not only are public funds not available to build facilities for all, but many newly constructed facilities have fallen into disrepair and disuse. Along with the numerous failures there are also successes in this sector. From these successes a new view has begun to emerge of what the guiding principles of rural water supply strategies should be.
Local people themselves, not those trying to help them, have the most important role to play. Community itself must be the primary decision-maker, the primary investor, the primary organizer, and the primary overseer.
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.