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House of Commons
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The House of Commons Debate

This form of debate is inspired in part by the way the British parliament works. The audience is divided in two separate sections, facing each other. The idea is that one section represents the people who agree with the statements and the other one those who disagree. The defenders and the opposition, so to speak.

The statements are projected on the screen. The audience is asked to agree or disagree with the projected statement, after which they have to move to the designated section. Then the discussion leader will ask the participants why they chose for one side. In their answers they must try to convince people on the other side to join them. If people are convinced, they can walk over to the other side. People must actively take part in the discussion, by raising their hand and put forward their argument, but the discussion leader will also seek out people who haven’t contributed to the debate yet. The discussion leader decides when the discussion on a certain topic is finished and summarizes the outcome or asks an expert on the topic to do this.

House of Commons 2
The advantage of this method is that in a session of two hours with approx 120 participants, 90% of the people get to join in the discussion. Also people who perhaps are not the first to voice their expertise or opinion, will get a fair chance to do so. It is one of the tasks of the discussion leader to involve as many people as possible in the discussion.

Because everybody has to choose sides with every new statement, the House of Commons debate is always lively and dynamic. Of course it is important that the statements are well chosen. If you can predict that most people will agree or disagree with a certain statement, you shouldn’t use it. Always try to choose controversial statements, which are most likely to raise arguments from both sides.

An element that can be added to the debate is that at the end a (symbolic) prize is awarded to the best debater. In order to do this, there must be a jury (2 people) that listens for the most convincing arguments. This part, if you choose to use it, shouldn’t be taken too seriously, but is a good way to finalise the debate.

Registration and payment

Register here for the conference NB! Number of participants will be limited to 120 persons.
Registration fee is NOK 1500 (for students NOK 1000)  and includes coffee breaks, lunches, reception and one dinner.

International Workshop

Bergen, Norway, 29 – 31 March 2011
Hosted by:

Venue: Scandic Hotel and Conference Center, Bergen, Norway

Target audience
The workshop will bring together scientists, fisheries and environmental managers, conservation specialists, as well as stakeholders and policy-makers to explore new findings and approaches regarding ecological, economic and social aspects of integrated MPA.
Geographic scope: global
Convener: Erlend Moksness, IMR