While production and service operations tend to be less efficient than project construction, maintenance operations are typically less efficient than either. This is partly because successful maintenance provides no visible result, and so can seem dispensable. Maintenance and rehabilitation programmes depend on continuing budgetary support, but are often neglected in favor of new projects. Large, dispersed maintenance programmes are particularly hard to supervise and control from the center. Experience with highway maintenance illustrates three ways of responding to these difficulties: (a) Force account operations (whereby government departments carry out maintenance themselves) can counter the lack of a profit motive with improved training and personal reward systems; (b) Contracting to private companies. This can reduce the management load on highway departments and increase cost-effectiveness; (c) Using local communities to maintain local roads. Dependence on machines and transport is reduced to an absolute minimum, as is administration once the system is established. However, as with all labour-intensive methods, the demands on management are heavy while the system is being set up, and technical assistance is often required.
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.