Thymio Papayannis has been working on wetland conservation, wise use and the cultural values of wetlands, and with the Ramsar Convention for 26 years, in the framework Greece, the Mediterranean and globally. He has played a key role in the establishment of important research institutes and organisations in natural environment and culture, such as WWF Greece, the Society for the Protection of Prespa (in which he has succeeded Luc Hoffmann as President), Med-INA, the Mediterranean Institute for Nature and Anthropos (of which he is the Director) and the Greek Biotope Wetland Centre (EKBY, a research centre on wetlands issues).
On a Mediterranean scale, he was instrumental in establishing in 1991 the MedWet Initiative, and in its implementation as a Coordinator for its first 10 years (in which he remains as Senior Advisor). He has also been a Board member of WWF International and of the Tour du Valat Foundation (for nearly 20 years), as well as joint Coordinator of the IUCN Delos Initiative on sacred natural sites. Thymio Papayannis’s work and his books have contributed significantly to an overall better understanding and awareness of Mediterranean wetland issues and challenges. His work has inspired a number of research and development programmes and institutions.
For many years, he has advised the Ramsar Secretariat and made a major contribution to the incorporation of cultural values in the work of the Convention and has coordinated the work of the Ramsar Culture Working Group. Thymio Papayannis is a visionary leader that personifies the Ramsar Recognition of Achievement Award.