One way to promote public understanding of the public interest is to set up a "transparency" agency whose function is to provide an overview of government intervention. It acts to assist both government and the public see sectoral proposals in an economy-wide framework. With sufficient independence and investigative powers a transparency agency can influence other branches of the bureaucracy.
In a number of countries, tariff commissions are intended to carry out this role, but the results have been mixed. Such commissions have often spent much of their time working on highly technical questions as to whether an industry has suffered damage or injury, whether this can be attributed to imports, and whether these imports are unfair in some sense. In addition governments are always under pressure to mute their role by diluting their terms of reference.
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.