Our Story

The SPP was brought into being by two visionaries, Dr Luc Hoffmann and Thymios Papayannis, who wanted to create an organisation that would work collaboratively to protect Prespa’s remarkable nature and culture, through scientific principles and dialogue, ensuring that all those who strived for the conservation of this incredible and biodiverse corner of SE Europe spoke with a single and effective voice.

Many partners and donors have contributed to the SPP’s steady growth and development over the three decades of our existence, and this longstanding support and belief in our work has been a determining factor in the organisation’s successes over the years. Early supporters included WWF Greece and the French research institute, Tour du Valat, both of whom remain valued member organisations, whilst the longstanding investments made by the Swiss MAVA Foundation and the Aage V. Jensen Charity Foundation from Denmark have crucially allowed the SPP to build and follow a stable long-term strategic path for conservation in Prespa.

Hans Lucas (Luc) Hoffmann and Thymios Papayannis

Hans Lucas (Luc) Hoffmann and Thymios Papayannis

Luc Hoffmann (1923-2016), known for his courtesy, discretion and calm, as well as his patience and persistence, played an influential role in the creation of international organisations such as WWF International (1961), the Ramsar Convention (1971) and Birdlife International, as well as WWF France, the Tour du Valat research institute, Camargue National Park (France), Doñana National Park (Spain) and Banc d’Arguin National Park (Mauritania).

From the 1960s onwards, Luc became closely involved with biodiversity conservation in Greece. He was a donor and co-founder of WWF Greece and the Greek Biotope/Wetland Centre, as well as the SPP, of which he was president and then honorary president for many years. In 1994 he established the MAVA Foundation which continued to support nature conservation efforts across the globe until its closure in 2022.

Architect, planner and prominent Greek conservationist, Thymios Papayannis, co-founded WWF Greece and served as its president for many years, as well as contributing to the establishment of the SPP and the Greek Biotope/Wetland Centre. Internationally he is renowned for his determined advocacy of Mediterranean wetlands, particularly their cultural values. He established the Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative of the Ramsar Convention (MedWet), co-ordinated the Ramsar Culture Working Group and the IUCN Delos Initiative, and was director of MedINA. Thymios served as SPP president for 14 years and remains an honorary president