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Debate for Sustainable Development

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By exercise Debate for Sustainable Development can be open session focus on issue of sustainable development or other related topics. The exercise is based on active communication and participation of the participants.

Aims of the tool

To increase knowledge of the participants in the field of sustainable development;
To discuss most actual questions connected with the issue of sustainable development and support sharing and exchanging ideas and opinions;
To develop communication and presentation skills of the participants and support their active in involvement in the project.

Description of the tool

The participants are divided in teams (It can be created up to 8 teams. It depends how many questions should be discussed and how much time is preferable that the participants will spend by this activity). The number of the participants should not be more than four to support active involvement of all participants.

1 step
to create mix - intercultural teams
2 step
Each team receives several quotes/information about sustainable development. These quotes can be considered as supporting material for discussion (examples of the quotes please find in attachment).
3 step
The main questions which will be discussed in the debate are presented. Important: the team does not know which side in the debate they will take (if they will be supporting the statement or declining it). The trainers decide after the preparation is made just shortly before the discussion is starting.

Example of questions for discussion:
first team
Sustainable development is important…
Sustainable development is not important…

second team
We all can live more sustainable lives without making significant changes in our lives…
We cannot live more sustainable lives until the major changes are made in whole society…

To questions for discussion can be defined based on backgrounds of the participants, their experiences as the main aims of the training course.

4 step
All teams received up to 15 minutes to reflect on the questions of the discussion and think about supporting arguments for both sides.
5 step
The first two teams are called to start debate. Just shortly before the debate starts the team will get to know on “which side it is standing”- The time of the debate can 5 minutes with rules that after each 30 seconds the team switch.

The rest of the group is encourage to follow the discussion, write down the most interesting arguments as after each discussion the group will be asked to provide constructive feedback to each debate team.

6 step
Each team is taking part in discussion. Group is providing feedback.

7 step
After all teams finished with the debate. Debriefing continues. The most interesting, touching quotes, arguments are discussed in whole group. Participants can share their practical experiences and define the most interesting questions which would like discuss in upcoming sessions.


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SALTO cannot be held responsible for the inappropriate use of these training tools. Always adapt training tools to your aims, context, target group and to your own skills! These tools have been used in a variety of formats and situations. Please notify SALTO should you know about the origin of or copyright on this tool.

Tool overview

This tool addresses


It is recommended for use in:

Action 1.1 (Youth Exchanges)
Action 3.1 (Cooperation with the Neighbouring Partner Countries)

Materials needed:

papers, pens for participants

Behind the tool

The tool was created by


in the context of

The tool was created by team preparing sessions for training course Sustainabe Project Management organized in September 2011 in Struga by organization Kvantum (contact email:

The tool was published to the Toolbox by

Ilona Olehlova (on 8 December 2011)

and last modified

28 November 2011

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