Energy is required to sustain human activities, such as providing heat for cooking and comfort, and electricity to power the appliances of the modern world. Eighty-five percent of the commercial energy used worldwide comes from the fossil fuels oil, coal and gas. Fossil-fuel-fired power stations generate just over two thirds of the worlds electricity, while hydropower accounts for a fifth, nuclear power for 17% and geothermal resources for less than one percent. Non-commercial sources of energy such as fuelwood and agricultural residues account for about 12% of the world's energy use. However, humanity's energy requirement, fed by the needs of the modern world and a rapidly increasing population, is a principal cause of global environmental degradation.
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) energy programme has made a priority of assessing the environmental impacts of all forms of energy production and use. In the 1970s, UNEP promoted the use of renewable sources of energy and introduced the concept of rural energy centres by supporting demonstration projects in Sri-Lanka, the Philippines and Senegal. UNEP has supported bioenergy activities in South America and Africa, with the development of more efficient fuelwood stoves of particular importance. In 1990, in cooperation with other organizations, UNEP established an Energy Collaborating Centre at Roskilde, Denmark, in to promote the development of the environmentally-sound national energy plans. The first pilot project is underway in India.
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.