Encyclopedia of World Problems

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title:Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential

The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000. It is the result of an ambitious effort, since 1972, to collect and present information on the problems humanity is confronted with, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. It is a response to the fact that many institutions are trapped in inadequate policy metaphors.


title:1.3 Framework for interrelating incompatible perspectives

1. Need for a common frame

Before achieving consensus for purposes of action, some framework needs to be developed within which the different problems can be interrelated prior to the determination of their relative importance. Geoffrey Vickers argues that: "The changes that will flow from all of these impacts are unpredictable and perhaps unimaginable, but we can prepare to recognize and understand them more quickly as they emerge, by finding some common frame within which to comprehend them."

2. Myth of consensus


title:1.1 Acknowledgement of the universe of problems

The flood of documents produced by international organizations contains a very large number of facts, preoccupations, statements of belief, programme proposals and criticisms of other initiatives. Faced with this flood, most bodies survive by ignoring all but a small fraction of it. They endeavour to carve out a small niche, cultivating a support network of similarly minded bodies and formulating the most powerful strategy possible for them in order to act on the problems they perceive.


title:Very specific problems

This section groups together very specific problems. They themselves tend to be grouped under broader problems described in earlier sections. A problem is included here when it is considered too specific to merit inclusion in any of the previous sections, especially if it constitutes one of a number of sub-elements of specific problems described there.
No descriptions are provided. The problems in Section G only appear:
  • as cross-references of entries in earlier sections


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