On 13 April 2021, the fifth International Learning Event (ILE) of CAPonLITTER was organized by the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA).

With the theme “How regulatory instruments can be used to prevent specific items of marine litter, " stakeholders from all the countries involved in the project partnership attended this event.

Today, we present you the participating stakeholder from the Region of Crete, Greece, Costa Nostrum.

Costa Nostrum was established in 2015 as an awarded startup company, with the purpose of promoting and implementing the private certification standard “Certification Standard for Sustainable Management and Development of the Mediterranean Beaches – Costa Nostrum Sustainable Beaches”, through the effect of which the sustainable management and development of each beach may be achieved in an objective manner and succeeding to “convert” a simple beach, into a worldwide top destination, with a sustainability certification.

The Mediterranean Basin, consists of thousands of beaches (>8000), organized or not, public or “private”, which annually host millions of tourists from around the world and thus experience both the benefits and consequences of such an influx.

The Costa Nostrum certification standard can be adopted and applied by all municipalities and regions of the countries around the Mediterranean Sea, as well as by private businesses, such as hotel units and camping, that financially exploit a number of beaches.

Among the certified beaches, are beaches “operated” by 5star luxurious hotels as, well as, by large tourist municipalities of Crete - Greece.

The protocol can operate either simultaneously or independently of the Blue Flag program.

The Costa Nostrum - Sustainable Beaches protocol has been recognized as Good Practice for the European Interreg Programs BLUEIslands, and MISTRAL and we have distinguished at the European and Greek Business Awards for the Environment 2020.

Similar protocol for the sustainable management, certification and promotion of beaches does NOT exist globally.

Costa Nostrum seeks to achieve the sustainable development of both the beaches and the wider coastal area and to prevent the environmental causes, instead of "curing" them, by proposing specific actions and measures depending on the unique characteristics of each beach. It is a dynamic upgrading system that can incorporate solutions, depending on the needs and characteristics of each beach. Bathers can take part in the evaluation of the certified beaches through the non-stop online questionnaire survey and allows its annual scoring upgrade. It creates an experiential two-way link between the bather and the beach (and the mainland) and a very personalized tourist experience. It gives practical beach management tools to their managers and a healthy competitive environment is created.

The major outcomes of the implementation of the specific protocol are, the environmentally - sustainable and qualitative improvement of the awarded beaches, resulting firstly in environmental protection, conservation & increase of the awareness of a very fragile ecosystem, coastline, at each certified Costa Nostrum Sustainable Beach.

The certified beaches have become more environmentally friendly, cleaner, both on the sand and in the near sea waters, the management of the beaches has been improved rapidly (the satisfaction degree of the bathers have increased rapidly and reached the value of 81%, from more than 6000 questionnaires), we have “discover” and make known several myths concerning the beaches and the wider region. Costa Nostrum has managed to protect and to highlight several endemic fauna species, to increase the environmental awareness of thousands of bathers and to improve the waste management procedures on the certified beaches.

Finally, a new protocol about COVID19 and beaches was created on May 2020 and at the moment Costa Nostrum is “designing” a new sub-protocol, which will be more social-oriented and is scheduled to be launched before the beginning of the summer season 2021.

Additionally, at the following links you can get more targeted information regarding a possible cooperation:

• For the added value, cooperating with Costa Nostrum, please click here.

• For a brief description of Costa Nostrum's project, please click here.

• For a detailed presentation of Costa Nostrum's work, please click here.

• For information about the Costa Nostrum sub-protocol and the operation of the beaches according to the new situation created by Covid-19, please click here.

• For a full information file about Costa Nostrum, please click here.

• For information about Costa Nostrum's crowdfunding campaign in the near future, and how you could contribute to the certification of beaches all over the Mediterranean Sea, please click the weblink https://cnsl.eu/cncrwd.