A good information system is essential for all aspects of economic management. Systematic adjustments in policies and programmes, necessary in a fast-changing world, are not possible without reliable monitoring of current developments. As a rule, better information-especially about key performance indicators-brings bigger dividends for economic management than do sophisticated techniques of long-term forecasting. Although senior officials may readily agree on the need to improve statistics, genuine commitment (as evidenced by the provision of adequate resources) and sustained efforts are often lacking.
The problems of planning without facts have been well documented in Africa, but they are serious in many other countries as well. Lacking sectoral statistics, governments have not been able to address sectoral issues. This proved particularly damaging when oil prices rose sharply in the 1970s, because few developing countries had the data they needed to reassess their energy requirements and to develop conservation programmes. For years the lack of good agricultural statistics has seriously handicapped the analysis of agricultural development programmes and the formulation of policies. And the whole world has now learned of the dangers of ignorance about a country's financial position. In several countries -- notably Indonesia, Mexico, and Turkey -- the external debt crisis was compounded by the lack of comprehensive data.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a unique, experimental research work of the Union of International Associations. It is currently published as a searchable online platform with profiles of world problems, action strategies, and human values that are interlinked in novel and innovative ways. These connections are based on a range of relationships such as broader and narrower scope, aggravation, relatedness and more. By concentrating on these links and relationships, the Encyclopedia is uniquely positioned to bring focus to the complex and expansive sphere of global issues and their interconnected nature.
The initial content for the Encyclopedia was seeded from UIA’s Yearbook of International Organizations. UIA’s decades of collected data on the enormous variety of association life provided a broad initial perspective on the myriad problems of humanity. Recognizing that international associations are generally confronting world problems and developing action strategies based on particular values, the initial content was based on the descriptions, aims, titles and profiles of international associations.
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.