Using appropriate infrastructure technologies for housing
The acceptance and use of technological innovations by the building industry has been slow due to various factors. Innovative materials and technologies developed by government research institutes are seldom used by governments in their own construction activities. Frequently, even government tenders for low-cost housing projects specify expensive conventional building materials and technologies instead of proven low-cost technologies developed by government research institutions. Due to lack of public sector demonstration projects, contractors stick to the "proven" technologies that are often unsustainable from the social, economic and environmental point of views, and wide application of new innovative building materials and technologies is impeded.
Even when low-cost, appropriate building materials are attractive in terms of market price, there is still the problem of consumer biases against the products. This may not be based on cost considerations but instead stems from the lack of information on the technical properties of these innovative materials and the lack of awareness of the fact that costly building materials can easily be replaced by innovative locally-made materials. The failure to use low-cost materials in government-sponsored construction projects is another serious constraint which limits the wide-scale adoption of these materials. Governments in developing countries are often the largest clients of the construction industry; their efforts can easily popularize the use of these materials by private low-incomes house builders.
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.