It is with deep sorrow that we bid a final farewell to Dr Luc Hoffmann who passed away peacefully on Wednesday 21st July 2016 at the age of 93. The breadth and importance of Dr Luc Hoffmann’s achievements and influence cannot be overstated. His lifetime engagement in the cause of environmental conservation and wetland protection has not only led to the actual conservation of a number of important wetlands around the world but has also inspired a large number of scientists and conservationists and supported various environmental organisations of all sizes across the globe, including MedINA.
Dr Hoffmann was one of the founding fathers of the Ramsar Convention, of WWF International and Wetlands International which he actively supported throughout his lifetime. He also founded three key wetland conservation organisations that still pioneer in the field of wetland conservation: the Tour du Valat Research Institute in the Camargue (1954), the FIBA (International Foundation for the Banc d’Arguin in Mauritania, 1984) and the MAVA Foundation for Nature (1994). Dr Hoffmann was also a leading figure in the conservation of such iconic wetlands as the Camargue in France, Doñana in Spain, and Prespa Lakes shared by Albania, FYR of Macedonia and Greece.
MedINA director Thymio Papayannis has worked closely with Luc Hoffmann for more than 30 years in unity and friendship. He remembers a discussion with him in the summer of 1987 in a small tavern on the shore of Amvrakikos Gulf. To Thymio’s question on where priority should be given between averting threats to biodiversity or to building conservation institutions for the future, Luc smiled and replied in his usual laconic manner “But of course to both”. In this spirit, they proceeded towards the founding of the Society for the Protection of Prespa, WWF Greece, EKBY – the Greek Biotope and Wetland Centre, MedWet – the Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative and others.
Luc Hoffmann is not anymore among us. His guidance though, his spirit, his commitment will continue to inspire us and the generations to come.