Sustainable forest management, with its respect for the ecosystem equal to economic considerations, also implies broad public participation in both decision making and implementation. This requires a movement in thinking from management for the people to management with the people, making the people part of the solution rather than the problem. A similar movement in thinking is required in terms of management approach, from a top down perspective to a more decentralised and devolved local management approach, with the decision making power taken on by local communities. This approach requires fairly stable, homogenous communities, the absence of competing claims on the ground, smooth democratic processes within community groups or, failing that, dedicated, competant and honest leaders.
In the Asia-Pacific region alone, some 430-540 million people are "forest-dependent" for their livliehood.
In Nepal almost half a million hectares of forest have been handed over so far to 7,000 user groups, and a thousand other such groups are waiting for formal registration. In India, some of the best forest devolution experiments are underway using joint forest management agreements, allowing some 10,000 community groups to protect and use more than 1.5 million hectares of forest land.
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.