Recent trends in urbanization reflect economic and political changes. Within the context of the structural changes in the world economy, some regions and cities have proved more flexible than nations in adapting to changing economic conditions. Well-managed urbanization can lead to improvements in the living standards of the world's population. However, the transition to an urbanized world has profound implications for the state of the world environment.
Urbanization is an essential part of the development of most countries towards stronger and more stable economies and it has helped underpin improvements in living standards for a considerable proportion of the world's population. The countries in the South that have urbanized most rapidly in the last 10 to 20 years are generally also the ones with the most rapid economic growth. Further, most of the world's largest cities are in the world's largest economies. Cities and towns are centres of artistic, scientific and technological innovation, of culture and education.
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.