Environmental refugees may be defined as people who can no longer gain a basic fundamental livelihood in their traditional homelands, because of environmental degradation and unemployment. At the moment there are 25 million environmental refugees and growing, especially in the developing world. Unemployment is already at 25% of the workforce, or about 750 million unemployed, slightly exceeding the entire workforce of the developed world. The creation of such refugees maintains and promotes social unrest, and the world will necessarily have to address the issue.
It is estimated that if the developing world is to provide employment for the newborns, they will have to generate 40 million jobs per year on average.
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.