The Blue Flag PROGRAMME as PRO-ENVIRONMENTAL BEHAVIOUR INSTRUMENT FOR COASTAL DESTINATIONS: TOWARDS MUNICIPAL coastal governance and communication

Jānis Ulme, Sintija Graudiņa- Bombiza, Raimonds Ernsteins

Abstract


The research focuses on evaluation of the Blue Flag programme implementation in Latvia since the year 1998, when the programme’s operations started. It includes analysis and an overview of both the national and local level impacts and the results of the programme implementation. With regard to national level, approach and experience, the overview focuses on effectiveness and the role of the Blue Flag programme as a supporting instrument for successful implementation of environmental legislation. This programme is also analysed as a communication instrument in promoting environmental policies within 500 km long of coastline areas, which in Latvia are announced the national interest territories aiming at both particular protection and also development, especially, as tourism destinations. On the municipal level, our approach and overview present analysis of the Blue Flag criteria and their implementation experience in different municipalities. Moreover, we study the overall impact of the programme on environmental performance of the municipal sector regarding coastal protection issues. The Blue Flag survey also reviews selected municipal case studies: Liepaja, Ventspils, and Saulkrasti. After reviewing the overall programme’s performance in Latvia, the study concludes with an elaborated set of multi-level suggestions on potential improvements that would strengthen the programme’s further implementation and facilitate better and wider use of its potential not only for particular designated and size limited coastal destinations as the Blue Flag beaches and marinas. The programme’s potential could also be used for voluntary and facilitated coastal governance and coastal communication within the whole municipality and eventually further afield, turning from spreading of coastal information and almost established education towards coastal participation and the whole scale pro-environmental behaviour.

Keywords: Blue Flag, coastal management, environmental communication, environmental policy.

JEL CODES: Q, Q5, Q56, Q58.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15181/rfds.v23i1.1688


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