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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of international cooperation from the real IELTS exam.

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IELTS Essay: International Cooperation

Many today feel that most urgent problems can only be solved by international cooperation.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

There are those who claim that we can only solve pressing global issues today if countries work in concert. In my opinion, international cooperation holds some promise but it is difficult to align the priorities of self-interested nations.

Proponents argue that global issues require active participation from all countries. The best, most recent example of this is climate change. Threats to the environment are becoming more dire annually and this affects every nation on Earth equally. Therefore, the best solutions involve signing international accords. These agreements force nations to abide by certain regulations and meet benchmarks in order to form a cohesive, global policy that can mitigate and reverse the effects of climate change. If many governments are unwilling to commit, it is unlikely that individual nations will then have the desire to make drastic changes and very little might be done to curb an imminent global catastrophe.

However, the accords mentioned above have been notorious failures as each nation has its own individual priorities. Many developed nations that already have well-developed green industries and eco-friendly policies in place are happy to sign agreements that benefit both the Earth and their own financial interests. Other nations, chiefly in the Middle East where their economies are reliant on fossil fuel production and in developing countries where the economic consequences would be dire, are less enthusiastic. Many poorer countries can also justly argue that they contributed little to the current climate problems in the past so it is unfair to hinder their development now. This applies for issues outside climate change as nations will always be in conflict and international cooperation is therefore an impractical solution to important problems.

In conclusion, though the entire planet working in tandem would be an ideal approach, it will typically fail due to competing interests. It is more important that countries act on their own or with like-minded nations and not push for global reforms.

Analysis

1. There are those who claim that we can only solve pressing global issues today if countries work in concert. 2. In my opinion, international cooperation holds some promise but it is difficult to align the priorities of self-interested nations.

  1. Paraphrase the overall essay topic.
  2. Write a clear opinion. Read more about writing introductions here.

1. Proponents argue that global issues require active participation from all countries. 2. The best, most recent example of this is climate change. 3. Threats to the environment are becoming more dire annually and this affects every nation on Earth equally. 4. Therefore, the best solutions involve signing international accords. 5. These agreements force nations to abide by certain regulations and meet benchmarks in order to form a cohesive, global policy that can mitigate and reverse the effects of climate change. 6. If many governments are unwilling to commit, it is unlikely that individual nations will then have the desire to make drastic changes and very little might be done to curb an imminent global catastrophe.

  1. Write a clear topic sentence with your main idea at the end.
  2. Begin a specific example.
  3. Develop your example.
  4. State the results to keep developing it.
  5. Don’t switch to a new example – keep developing the same one.
  6. State your final conclusions.

1. However, the accords mentioned above have been notorious failures as each nation has its own individual priorities. 2. Many developed nations that already have well-developed green industries and eco-friendly policies in place are happy to sign agreements that benefit both the Earth and their own financial interests. 3. Other nations, chiefly in the Middle East where their economies are reliant on fossil fuel production and in developing countries where the economic consequences would be dire, are less enthusiastic. 4. Many poorer countries can also justly argue that they contributed little to the current climate problems in the past so it is unfair to hinder their development now. 5. This applies for issues outside climate change as nations will always be in conflict and international cooperation is therefore an impractical solution to important problems.

  1. Write another topic sentence with a new main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Give specific examples as I do here.
  4. Develop those examples as full as possible.
  5. Generalise to other situations if your example was very specific.

1. In conclusion, though the entire planet working in tandem would be an ideal approach, it will typically fail due to competing interests. 2. It is more important that countries act on their own or with like-minded nations and not push for global reforms.

  1. Summarise your main ideas and repeat your opinion.
  2. Include a final thought/detail.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean?

There are those who claim that we can only solve pressing global issues today if countries work in concert. In my opinion, international cooperation holds some promise but it is difficult to align the priorities of self-interested nations.

Proponents argue that global issues require active participation from all countries. The best, most recent example of this is climate change. Threats to the environment are becoming more dire annually and this affects every nation on Earth equally. Therefore, the best solutions involve signing international accords. These agreements force nations to abide by certain regulations and meet benchmarks in order to form a cohesive, global policy that can mitigate and reverse the effects of climate change. If many governments are unwilling to commit, it is unlikely that individual nations will then have the desire to make drastic changes and very little might be done to curb an imminent global catastrophe.

However, the accords mentioned above have been notorious failures as each nation has its own individual priorities. Many developed nations that already have well-developed green industries and eco-friendly policies in place are happy to sign agreements that benefit both the Earth and their own financial interests. Other nations, chiefly in the Middle East where their economies are reliant on fossil fuel production and in developing countries where the economic consequences would be dire, are less enthusiastic. Many poorer countries can also justly argue that they contributed little to the current climate problems in the past so it is unfair to hinder their development now. This applies for issues outside climate change as nations will always be in conflict and international cooperation is therefore an impractical solution to important problems.

In conclusion, though the entire planet working in tandem would be an ideal approach, it will typically fail due to competing interests. It is more important that countries act on their own or with like-minded nations and not push for global reforms.

Answers

claim argue

solve pressing global issues fix problems affecting the whole world

in concert working together

international cooperation globally working together

holds some promise might work

align get on the same page

priorities what they value

self-interested nations selfish countries

proponents advocates

active participation committing fully

climate change global warming

threats potential dangers

becoming more dire annually getting more serious every year

signing international accords agreeing to global pacts

agreements pacts, accords

abide by follow

regulations rules

meet benchmarks reach goals

cohesive unified

global policy plan for the whole Earth

mitigate lessen

reverse fix

commit choose to participate

drastic changes big reforms

curb slow down

imminent global catastrophe coming soon big problems

notorious failures famously haven’t worked

individual priorities their own interests

well-developed green industries solar, wind, electric, etc.

eco-friendly policies in place already have clean energy laws

financial interests invested in

reliant depend on

fossil fuel production oil and gas

economic consequences hurt their economy

dire very bad

less enthusiastic not excited for

justly argue rightly claim

contributed little don’t give much

hinder their development hold back their progress

applies is the case for

conflict not in agreement

impractical solution won’t work

entire completely

working in tandem working together

ideal approach perfect solution

competing interests in conflict

like-minded nations countries that think the same way

push for global reforms try to make changes the whole world follows

Pronunciation

kleɪm 
sɒlv ˈprɛsɪŋ ˈgləʊbəl ˈɪʃuːz 
ɪn ˈkɒnsə(ː)t
ˌɪntə(ː)ˈnæʃənl kəʊˌɒpəˈreɪʃən 
həʊldz sʌm ˈprɒmɪs 
əˈlaɪn 
praɪˈɒrɪtiz 
sɛlf-ˈɪntrɪstɪd ˈneɪʃənz
prəˈpəʊnənts 
ˈæktɪv pɑːˌtɪsɪˈpeɪʃən 
ˈklaɪmɪt ʧeɪnʤ
θrɛts 
bɪˈkʌmɪŋ mɔː ˈdaɪər ˈænjʊəli 
ˈsaɪnɪŋ ˌɪntə(ː)ˈnæʃənl əˈkɔːdz
əˈgriːmənts 
əˈbaɪd baɪ 
ˌrɛgjʊˈleɪʃənz 
miːt ˈbɛnʧmɑːks 
kəʊˈhiːsɪv
ˈgləʊbəl ˈpɒlɪsi 
ˈmɪtɪgeɪt 
rɪˈvɜːs 
kəˈmɪt
ˈdræstɪk ˈʧeɪnʤɪz 
kɜːb 
ˈɪmɪnənt ˈgləʊbəl kəˈtæstrəfi
nəʊˈtɔːrɪəs ˈfeɪljəz 
ˌɪndɪˈvɪdjʊəl praɪˈɒrɪtiz
wɛl-dɪˈvɛləpt griːn ˈɪndəstriz 
ˈiːkəʊ-ˈfrɛndli ˈpɒlɪsiz ɪn pleɪs 
faɪˈnænʃəl ˈɪntrɪsts
rɪˈlaɪənt 
ˈfɒsl fjʊəl prəˈdʌkʃən 
ˌiːkəˈnɒmɪk ˈkɒnsɪkwənsɪz 
ˈdaɪə
lɛs ɪnˌθjuːzɪˈæstɪk
ˈʤʌstli ˈɑːgjuː 
kənˈtrɪbju(ː)tɪd ˈlɪtl 
ˈhaɪndə ðeə dɪˈvɛləpmənt 
əˈplaɪz 
ˈkɒnflɪkt 
ɪmˈpræktɪkəl səˈluːʃən 
ɪnˈtaɪə 
ˈwɜːkɪŋ ɪn ˈtændəm 
aɪˈdɪəl əˈprəʊʧ
kəmˈpiːtɪŋ ˈɪntrɪsts
ˈlaɪkˈmaɪndɪd ˈneɪʃənz 
pʊʃ fɔː ˈgləʊbəl ˌriːˈfɔːmz

Vocabulary Practice

Remember and fill in the blanks:

There are those who c_______m that we can only s___________________________s today if countries work i____________t. In my opinion, i_____________________n h_______________________e but it is difficult to a_______n the p_____________s of s______________________s.

P________________s argue that global issues require a_____________________n from all countries. The best, most recent example of this is c________________e. T__________s to the environment are b___________________________y and this affects every nation on Earth equally. Therefore, the best solutions involve s_______________________s. These a__________________s force nations to a____________y certain r_____________s and m_____________________s in order to form a c____________e, g_______________y that can m___________e and r__________e the effects of climate change. If many governments are unwilling to c____________t, it is unlikely that individual nations will then have the desire to make d_______________s and very little might be done to c_____b an i________________________e.

However, the accords mentioned above have been n__________________s as each nation has its own i_____________________s. Many developed nations that already have w_____________________________s and e_____________________________e are happy to sign agreements that benefit both the Earth and their own f____________________s. Other nations, chiefly in the Middle East where their economies are r___________t on f_______________________n and in developing countries where the e________________________s would be d____e, are l_____________________c. Many poorer countries can also j____________e that they c_________________e to the current climate problems in the past so it is unfair to h______________________t now. This a__________s for issues outside climate change as nations will always be in c___________t and international cooperation is therefore an i_____________________n to important problems.

In conclusion, though the e________e planet w________________m would be an i_______________h, it will typically fail due to c___________________s. It is more important that countries act on their own or with l____________________s and not p_____________________s.

Listening Practice

Learn below about how the United Nations work – a potential good example in your writing:

Reading Practice

Read more about failed talks related to climate change from The New York Times below:

Speaking Practice

Answer the following questions from the real speaking exam related to the environment:

Environment (NEW BOOKLET)

  1. Why do people throw rubbish the streets?
  2. How can people be encouraged to not litter?
  3. What are the results of littering?
  4. What steps has your government taken to make people pick up after themselves?
  5. Do the efforts of a single person have an impact on the world as a whole?

Writing Practice

Write about the following related topic and check with my sample answer:

Some believe that we should invent a new language for international communication.

Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?


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