This section groups "unusual" problems. These may include:
- potential problems
- problems based on "superstition"
- problems based on unsubstantiated beliefs (such as UFOs)
- dormant problems and problems of the past
- essentially ambiguous, intangible or "fuzzy" problems
- problems in the organized response to other problems
- low probability problems (such as geopagnetic reversal)
Problems are also allocated to this section when it is difficult to justify their allocation to any other section. A significant number of the problems cannot be readily grouped into hierarchies using the "broader" relationship. They then tend to be characterized by the looser "related" link or by functional links to other problems.
Note that further information relevant to an understanding of the problem may be present in other problems cross-referenced in the entry consulted.
The problems in this section tend not to be a preoccupation of the programmes of international organizations. But they may emerge in reports on the failures of those programmes.
This section groups 3,072 problems for which there are 37,919 cross-references.
The problems allocated to this section tend to emerge from unusual studies that do not fall within any of the conventional disciplines and thus seldom figure in any reviews of the crises of the times. Some derive from the paragraphs and sub-paragraphs of documents of programmes in response to the more conventional described in earlier sections. Problems of this kind frequently escape information collection procedures and are easily ignored as being unworthy of serious attention. The importance of some of these problems become more readily apparent in practical situations.
The entries are based on information obtained from international organizations, from a wide variety of reference books, or as reported in the international media. The procedures for identifying world problems are described in the Notes.
A keyword index to entries is provided.
Entries in this section are also cross-referenced from the section on Human Values and Wisdom on the basis of the negative value words in the principal or alternative names of the problems. It is such value operators which render the problem "problematic".
Detailed comments are given in the Notes.
The emphasis throughout this volume has been placed on providing descriptions of less well-known problems, particularly when the extensive material available on the better known problems contained neither succinct descriptions of them nor descriptive material which could easily be reduced to succinct descriptions. The problem descriptions here represent a compilation of views from published documents (usually from international organizations). The text provided does not necessarily constitute the best possible description of the problem, since a compromise has had to be struck between availability of information, the resources to process it, and the space available in this volume.
Possible future improvements
There is much scope for improving the quality of problem entries through feedback from interested bodies. More bibliographic references could be included where appropriate, as well as references to major resolutions concerning those problems recognized by the United Nations. There is also much scope for improving the pattern of cross-references, both between problems, to other sections of this volume (eg values) and to the 20,000 internationally-active bodies in the companion series (Yearbook of International Organizations).