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When in conflict, the United Nations should prioritize global poverty reduction over envir protect

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/17/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 726 times Debate No: 70233
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
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I would first like to state the format of this debate:

Round 1: Constructive

Round 2: Rebuttal

Round 3: Summary

I am in the firmest affirmation of the resolution when in conflict, the United Nations should prioritize global poverty reduction over environmental protection for the following contentions;

1.The welfare of all people comes first

2. The UN states their purpose as ending poverty

First, let"s address what the UN is.

"The United Nations is an international organization founded in 1945 after the Second World War by 51 countries committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights. Due to its unique international character, and the powers vested in its founding Charter, the Organization can take action on a wide range of issues, and provide a forum for its 192 Member States to express their views, through the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council and other bodies and committees." (1) This answer was given by the UN on a Q&A website, as you can see on the website. Now, on to my contentions.

Let's talk about the welfare of the people. On the United Nations website (2), it says that their number 1 priority is to eradicate extreme poverty and
hunger. Ensuring environmental sustainability is number 7. Some might say this ends the debate as it has already been decided by the UN getting rid of poverty is at the top of their to-do list. That is the correct way to think. If there are no people left, what does it matter if the environment is sustainable.

Next, the UN says in their explanation of their purpose;

"The work of the United Nations reaches every corner of the globe. Although best known for peacekeeping, peace building, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance, there are many other ways the United Nations and its System (specialized agencies, funds and programmes) affect our lives and make the world a better place. The Organization works on a broad range of fundamental issues, from sustainable development, environment and refugees protection, disaster relief, counter terrorism, disarmament and non-proliferation, to promoting democracy, human rights, governance, economic and social development and international health, clearing landmines, expanding food production, and more, in order to achieve its goals and coordinate efforts for a safer world for this and future generations." (1) Notice how it talks about ending hunger and poverty, not environmental sustainability. If it is saying it's purpose is to end poverty, then they should focus on ending world poverty.

It is for these reasons that I stand in the firmest affirmation of the resolution.

If my opponent wants to see my citations, the URLs are below;




Firstly, I would like to thank you for starting an interesting debate with a very relevant topic.

To start off, it is very important to realize that we would be fundamentally wrong in treating the two problems as mutually non-interdependent. In the majority of cases, the problem of hunger and lack of clean drinking water (both are components of poverty) arise mainly due to reasons such as lack of sustainable environmental practices, land degradation, river pollution etc..

The U.N Food and agricultural organisation (FAO) predicts that the food production must increase by at least 70 percent to keep everyone sufficiently fed [1]. After years of intensive farming in place in many areas, the land has lost most of its fertility. How then are we supposed to increase food production when there is no arable land available? That is the reason there must be stress on sustainable agriculture so that we can sufficiently provide even for the future generations to feed the increasing population.

By 2025, up to two thirds of the world's population is projected to live in water stressed conditions [1]. This means that with a majority of the rivers being polluted by industrial effluents and other forms of waste, environmental protection needs more prioritization than ever. Furthermore, improper waste disposal also leads to many diseases such as cholera and dengue [2]. If we do not act now to keep a clean and a safe environment, there would be widespread diseases in many areas, something very commonly observed in poor countries.

If you look at the above problems (hunger, lack of potable water, diseases), they actually are some of the main components of poverty we must be worried about. By saying that poverty must be given more importance means that we are neglecting in many instances the factors behind poverty. To eradicate poverty, simply giving out food aid and money is not enough as it is not sustainable in the long run. Poverty must be tackled from its roots. One of them is to keep a healthy, clean and a sustainable environment.

Thus, I shall conclude by stressing the fact that poverty and environmental problems are linked together. It would be wrong to blindly and absolutely favor poverty reduction over environment when in conflict. In every instance, the issue must be handled on a case by case basis and thus, it would mean environmental problems have a fair chance of getting a higher priority over poverty reduction.


Debate Round No. 1


cosborn forfeited this round.


Well, looks like you have forfeited your round. Anyway, your first argument did not have any substantial points to even allow a chance for rebuttal.
You have just copied and pasted the motto of the U.N from the website and there are no solid reasons to strengthen your argument. Hence, with nothing to rebut about, I will try and end this debate quickly and allow for voting to decide the winner
Debate Round No. 2


I would like to apologize for forfeiting that round, I could not find the time to post, I was busy.

I believe I won because neither me nor my opponent rebutted, and I feel as though I had the better constructive. I did not copy and paste the motto, instead I cited my sources from a post made by the UN when asked what the purpose was. I obviously used quotation marks and gave credit at the bottom. Also, I feel both my points touched on exactly what the resolution talked about. Thank you.


Well, I would like to differ. The point of this debate is to evaluate and weigh the REASONS behind U.N's decision to either target poverty or environmental problems.
Simply quoting a post does not suffice as there is nothing much to debate there. We need to look into the explanation and justification behind U.N's decisions to have a scope for a debate.

For example, I might say "ice cream is better than candy". However, there would not be much to debate in my statement. A scope for debating comes in when we JUSTIFY our choice with proper illustrations and references to back it up. For the above example, the justification from my side would be "ice cream tastes better", to which my opponent can rebut with other reasons to show candies are better.
I did not rebut your argument as I did not find any justifications by you to back up your point. In other words, there was no scope for a proper debate.

Anyway, It has been a pleasure discussing this topic and I thank you for posting it.
May the best man win.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Krishna96 1 year ago
@ DaethFromafar, by "conflict", he means a situation where the U.N has to choose one between the two because of financial (or any other) constraints. It has nothing to do with the common meaning of conflict synonymous to war.
Posted by bsh1 1 year ago
If you increase the character limits, I would accept this debate. At least 5,000 characters...
Posted by DaethFromafar 1 year ago
What do you mean? are you saying the UN should stop spending money on environmental protection and focus on the impoverished?

what does that have to do with being in conflict?
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