All our sites are reviewed annually and awarded for an operating season, which can last up to a full year.
The International Jury reviews the applicants twice a year, in April for the Northern hemisphere evaluation and in September for the Southern hemisphere evaluation.
The International Jury is a very important body which ensures that all the sites awarded worldwide show the same level of excellence. This is why the National and International Juries are composed of all the relevant stakeholders which partake in the Blue Flag programme and sites.
The International Jury is composed of various members from different international key organisations:
European Environment Agency
Peter Kristensen, Project manager on Integrated Water Assessment, European Environment Agency, has more than 20 years of experience in the assessing the state of and pressures affecting Europe's water. A wide experience in state of the environment reporting and data management at national and European level including a European-wide knowledge of water quality and pollution; water resources, water abstraction and water use; climate change impacts on water; and sector activities affecting the state of water quality and water quantity.
Among his numerous responsibilities in different orgnaisations related to accessibility, ensures the role of Director of Universal Accessibility for the “Fundación ONCE”. He is as well the vice-president of the European Network for Accesible Tourism (ENAT).
Fundación ONCE has been collaborating with Asociación de Educación Ambiental y del Consumidor (ADEAC), the FEE member organisation in Spain, for more than 10 years in the definition and improvement of advisable and ideal criteria for beaches, and in increasing the level of consumer information on the conditions offered. Accessibility has been an important criterion for Blue Flag accreditation for a few years now. In this regard, a Blue Flag means that at least minimum accessibility conditions are met and that they are continually being improved, among other things, because of the contribution of municipalities which recognize the need to offer accessibility improvements to all citizens.
Since 2018, ENAT is part of the Blue Flag International Jury in charge of designating Blue Flags and accessibility thematic distinctions.
Aberdeen Institute for Coastal Science and Management Director
University of Aberdeen (representing EUCC)
Beaches and marinas are both very important to coastal tourism around the world. Use of our coasts by people requires careful management. The work the Blue Flag carries out through its beach and marina awards contribute to the maintenance of a sustainable coastal environment. The EUCC and the EUCC-UK support the work of the Blue Flag as part of their desire to promote the conservation and maintenance of healthy seas and attractive coasts for both people and nature.
Representing the FEE Board of Directors, as political responsible of the Blue Flag program, we are honored in saying that Blue Flag is the symbol of Excellence in the world for beaches and marinas. At present, we are working hard to also achieve this level of excellence, with the recent introduction, of the Sustainable Boating Tourism Operators criteria. This environmental management tool has throughout the years contributed towards sustainable tourism development by establishing and attaining high standards for fresh water and marine areas.
We have not accomplished this alone, we are grateful for the great and continuous collaboration of our International Jury members as well as the national juries around the world and last but not least, our National Operators who are responsible of ensuring full compliance of the Blue Flag criteria during each season in their countries.
ICOMIA (International Council of Marine Industry Associations) Marinas Group
I am a Certified Marina Manager, member of ICOMIA Marinas Group, appointed as delegate of the IMG to represent our organisation at all Blue Flag meetings.
Being one of the first people to have endorsed the creation of Blue Flag, in France, 30 years ago, I have always supported and promoted the Blue Flag scheme, particularly in the field of marinas. For me, even if there are other relevant environmental programmes in different countries, the Blue Flag remains the most recognised one among the citizens, wherever you are in the world. It makes a big difference, since when you see a Blue Flag flying over a marina or a beach, you know immediately that you are in a community where environment is not just an excuse, but a proactive approach.
ILS Board of Directors, and Chair of the ILS Membership Committee
ILSE Board of Directors, and member of Management and Administration commission
Blue Flag and the International Life Saving Federation are in a strong partnership striving to promote and constantly improve safety on Blue Flag beaches and Marinas.
It is estimated that approximately 1.1 million people die every year in drowning accidents, and millions more suffer from traumas after having survived a drowning process.
Blue Flag beaches and marinas follow safety criteria to prevent drowning accidents, and Blue Flag and the International Lifesaving Federation will therefore continue the global effort to develop and recommend best practices in drowning prevention, lifesaving, resuscitation and emergency care.
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Programme Officer, Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land Based Activities (GPA)
Division of Environmental Policy Implementation (DEPI)
United Nations Environment Programme
The Blue Flag programme institutes management procedures and a global standard for multi-stakeholders at the destination, to cooperate and collaborate for the protection of key coastal resources especially at tourism destinations. The programme has achieved a significant global footprint from among developed, developing and emerging countries with numerous examples of best practices in institutional arrangement, operations and performance. The Blue Flag programme is therefore an important partner institution to UNEP for the protection of valued marine and coastal destination assets globally.
Education for Sustainable Development
Chair, Greening UNESCO
Bernard Combes supports UNESCO’s activities on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). He coordinates the implementation of the Global Action Programme on ESD priority action area on Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level through capacity and partnership building in order to improve the quality of local platforms for learning and cooperation and strengthen multi-stakeholder networks at local level to integrate ESD programmes and perspectives into communities’ planning and decision-making processes.
He is also the Education Sector focal point for biodiversity and UNESCO focal point for the Earth Charter, and among other things, works to reinforce cooperation with other agencies and stakeholders in regards to Communication, Education and Public Awareness in the areas of biodiversity, water, oceans, cities and sustainable lifestyles.
This has focused on providing technical advice and support for capacity building activities, and developing learning, teaching and awareness raising materials, in cooperation with other UNESCO sectors (notably Natural Sciences, Communication, Culture and World Heritage), other agencies (notably UNEP, UNU, CDB, FAO) and stakeholders (such as IUCN, WWF, IOC, youth groups, media and private sector).
Director, Sustainable Development of Tourism
World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is a longstanding Blue Flag Institutional Partner and Member of the International Jury. Blue Flag became an international recognized eco-label for tourists and tour operators and an effective tool for coastal areas to assess, measure and monitor their sustainability performance by analyzing a full set of criteria which are pivotal to sustain and support tourism sector’s efforts to globally accelerate the shift towards sustainable consumption and production patterns.
Responsible Whale Watching Project Manager
World Cetacean Alliance and Blue Flag share an aligned ethos of working towards sustainable coastal and marine tourism that protects our wildlife and their habitats. Wild whale and dolphin watching is an important industry both environmentally and economically for many coastal regions and the World Cetacean Alliance and it's Partners are proud to work closely with Blue Flag to advise on the whale watching aspect of their excellent and rigorous Sustainable Boating Tourism Operators certification.