This summer Blue Flags flew proudly at 27 beaches and 9 marinas across Canada, but did you know Blue Flag is the biggest eco-certification program of its kind in the world? In 2018, over 4,500 flags flew in 45 countries! Around the world, the exact same sets of strict criteria are met by each site. This way, whether your beach trip takes you to Tuscany or Toronto, you know that the Blue Flag beaches strive for the same pristine water and environmental excellence.
Representing Canada on the international stage
Each year, the countries operating Blue Flag come together at the International meeting to discuss the year ahead and share best practices among countries. This year, the meeting in Zakynthos, Greece was a huge success. Environmental Defence was proud to represent Canada at this event.
Collaboration is key
Every year is an opportunity for collaboration. Each of the countries has something to offer, and something to learn. This year, the Blue Flag program launched their online Best Practice Tool. This interactive platform is great for beach and marina operators who are looking for ideas from other countries. Here is a great example from Italy, where a marina was able to steward a green fishing program that resulted in a 400% increase in local fish population.
A huge part of the meeting was collaborating with other countries. Each national representative had lessons to share, and things to learn. We all spent time thinking about how the Blue Flag program can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, and encourage the visitors to Blue Flag sites to care for our natural environment, especially our coasts.
Getting creative with up-cycling
The International meeting is a lot of work, but there is always time for some fun. After the meetings concluded, Semaphore hosted a special event for us to creatively up-cycle flags from past years. Each national representative was tasked with creating a “fashion” statement with out of date Blue Flags. It was the perfect way to combine recycling and fun at the end of the conference – I think we did a pretty good job!
With another international meeting, and successful Blue Flag season behind us, we at Environmental Defence, and the global community, look forward to another year of flying the Blue Flag high in 2019.