Overall direct benefits of space technology for providing alternative solutions in the fields of communications, meteorology, natural resource management and environmental monitoring have significantly altered perceptions of development in the technologically more advanced countries.
Explosive population growth, limited land resources, low levels of agricultural activity and poor management of land and water resources have made the task of providing food security to the peoples of the developing countries a formidable challenge. Space technology can be a powerful tool for accelerating national development. It provides a way of overcoming obsolete technologies and an alternative to percolation and trickle-down models of national development. The application of space technology can effectively deal with problems of illiteracy, isolation and lack of information afflicting the development process. Depending upon each country's unique social, economic, cultural and resource context, and taking account other alternative technologies, space can play an important role in specific areas of development. Space technology can contribute to a realistic appreciation of the problems and to a rapid improvement of agricultural production on a sustainable basis.
In many developing countries it still remains a challenge to demonstrate to high-level policy makers the potential benefits, particularly for economic and social development, of utilizing space technology and applications.
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.
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