There are signs that we are in fact an intelligent species. Birth rates are coming down. In the 1950s the average woman bore six children; in the 1990s that number fell to 2.9. In every rich nation the fertility rate is below the replacement rate of two children per woman. Some, such as the United States, are still growing because of immigration and/or baby-boom cohorts moving through their reproductive years. But if fertility holds at present levels, the population of Europe will decline from 728 million in 1998 to 715 million in 2025. We could, inspired by the awesome spectacle of our six billion, choose to bring our numbers down gracefully, gradually, everywhere, over a century or two, to around two billion, which would allow good lives for all humans and leave plenty of room for nature as well.
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.