The Coastal and Marine Programme of CEE is specifically focusing this year on initiating and demonstrating an internationally recognised beach certification programme that empowers local self-government institutions from the coastal states and Union Territories to sustainably manage their beach areas.

The Blue Flag programme is a world-renowned eco-label certification for beaches, marinas and boats. It is operated under the auspices of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), an international, non-governmental, non-profit organisation. The programme was initiated in France in 1985 and is currently implemented in 49 countries. CEE is the National Operating Agency for Blue Flag in India.

During the year, CEE facilitated a two-day national workshop organised by the Society of Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM) under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India. Additional Secretary Shri A. K. Mehta IAS inaugurated the workshop in the presence of the Joint Secretary, Shri Ritesh Kumar Singh, IAS, and Additional Project Director, SICOM, Shri Arvind Nautiyal, IRS. The State Nodal Officers from the coastal states and Union Territories attended the workshop. They were oriented to the Blue Flag certification process by Mr. Malcolm Powell, international board member from FEE Denmark.

During this year, CEE completed the national level Feasibility Study for the Blue Flag programme and submitted it to the FEE International for formally initiating the programme in India. The CEE team also conducted field surveys and assessment for three beaches (Bhogwe in Sindhudurg District, Maharashtra and Padubidri in Karnataka) for gap analysis against 33 certification criteria. This study was undertaken to facilitate the scope for Blue Flag certification for the beaches supported by the SICOM under their pilot project for developing sustainable tourism and environmental conservation of international standards in 13 model beaches across India. A similar assessment was done at Sagartirth beach at the request of Maharashtra Maritime Board.

CEE is in the process of setting up a Blue Flag National Jury and formalising its partnership with the MoEFCC for scaling up the programme and engaging with the state governments and other stakeholders from the coastal states for their participation in Blue Flag certification.