Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) is the world’s largest environmental education organisation, with members in 77 countries. Through our five groundbreaking programmes, we empower people to take meaningful and purposeful action to help create a more sustainable world.
1.The Blue-Flag Programme was launched in 1985 in France. In 1987, the idea of the award scheme was presented to FEE. This year was also the European Year for the Environment initiated by the European Union, so Blue Flag was launched on the European level (10 countries) in a partnership between FEE and the European Commission.
- In 1987, there were only five national FEE member organisations (Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Denmark). After the launch of Blue Flag in other six European countries, FEE started to require organisations as members of FEE in order to run Blue Flag.
- In the late 1980s and in the beginning of the 1990s, big constitutional changes were made for FEE.
- In 1994, the Eco-Schools and the Young Reporters for the Environment Programmes were implemented as second and third programmes of FEE.
- The Learning about Forests (LEAF) programme started in 2000 and the Green Key Programme in 2003. They were already nationally existing programmes before that but were implemented these to years as FEE programmes with the use of external steering committees.
- In the mid-1990s,a co-operation with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), was established and a manual for coastal zone management with the example of the Blue Flag was produced. With a further support from UNEP, workshops were held in Caribbean, Africa and Asia. An interest grew rapidly in the Caribbean area and a very solid interest was shown from South Africa.
- In 2003, FEE signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” (MoU) with UNEP which “formalises long-standing relationship between UNEP and FEE and provides a framework for long term co-operation on areas of common interest relating to education, training and public awareness for sustainable development globally”.
- Another Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) was signed in 2007 with the UN World Tourism Organization, where especially the tourism related programmes of FEE was recognised.
2.The iconic Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognised voluntary awards for beaches, marinas, and sustainable boating tourism operators. In order to qualify for the Blue Flag, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety, and accessibility criteria must be met and maintained.
3.Central to the ideals of the Blue Flag programme is the aim of connecting the public with their surroundings and encouraging them to learn more about their environment. As such, environmental education activities must be offered and promoted in addition to a permanent display of information relevant to the site in terms of biodiversity, ecosystems and environmental phenomena.
4.Blue Flag beach is an eco-tourism model endeavouring to provide the tourists or beachgoers clean and hygienic bathing water, facilities, safe and healthy environment and sustainable development of the area.Japan, South Korea and the UAE are the only other Asian nations who have been conferred with a couple of Blue Flag beaches.
5.Eight beaches in India have been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag certification. The Blue Flag certification is a globally recognised eco-label accorded by “Foundation for Environment Education, Denmark” based on 33 stringent criteria under four major heads :-
- environmental education and information
- bathing water quality
- environment management and conservation,
- safety and services.
6.These are eight Blue Flag certified beaches of India:
- Shivrajpur beach in Gujarat
- Ghoghla in Diu.
- Kasarkod and Padubidri in Karnataka.
- Kappad in Kerala
- Rushikonda in Andhra Pradesh
- Golden in Odisha
- Radhanagar in Andaman and Nicobar Islands
7.The benefits of having Blue Flag certification are as follows:
- Blue Flag contributes to fight poverty by supporting local economies through increasing tourism and promoting free access to beaches, business activities and services.
- Blue Flag creates job opportunities related to the maintenance and management of beaches, marinas and eco-tourism boats.
- The environmental education activities organised by Blue Flag on its beaches, marinas and boats supports local green activities or initiatives related to education, health, sanitation and infrastructure.
- Access to sea through beach and environmental management standards ensures that the communities that have been traditionally dependent on ecosystem services continue to enjoy the benefits in years to come.
- The improved infrastructure creates opportunities for new technologies and skills that have impact on other work sectors in the local communities.
- The Blue Flag has a positive effect on healthy living and well-being. The programme supports initiatives for sustainable healthy community development and welfare.
- The sites engaged in Blue Flag support a healthy lifestyle by raising people´s awareness through safety education activities.
- Blue Flag environmental quality standards help creating clean and healthy environments in order to minimize illnesses, infections or contagious diseases.
- The beach activities promote active lifestyles and social wellbeing.
- The Blue Flag safety standards mitigate possible accidents on the beach.
- One of the main pillars of the Blue Flag programme is environmental and sustainability education. Many initiatives launched by Blue Flag raise awareness of sustainable development in freshwater, marine areas and boats.
In order to challenge local authorities and sites operators to achieve high standards in water quality, environmental management, environmental education and safety, Blue Flag fosters environmental education activities through which people gain an all-round locally relevant or placed-based education.Blue Flag strongly believes that an important way to raise awareness for sustainable and environmental issues is giving equal access for men and women to the teaching for understanding eco-tourism and environmental sectors.However,there isn’t any listed disadvantages related to Blue Flag certification as per the research.