Award for Merit 2015

Tour du Valat - Director, Jean Jalbert / France

The Ramsar Convention owes some of its earliest foundations to the Tour du Valat. The visionary philanthropist, Dr Luc Hoffmann created the research centre in 1954.

Its mission remains the same today - to halt and reverse the loss and degradation of Mediterranean wetlands and their natural resources and promote their wise use. When Dr Hoffmann realised the importance of the team's work, he believed it was necessary to promote their findings to other wetland campaigners, researchers and scientists globally and to share knowledge and create some form of standardization of the methods and practices to ensure best practice. In 1971, the Ramsar Convention was born.

The Tour du Valat research centre still continues to develop integrated research and management programmes, which promote exchanges between scientists and wetland users. One of its most successful and historic achievements was the repopulation of the Greater Flamingo in the Camargue. This population continues to thrive to the present day, and a large part of the Tour du Valat estate, located in the Camargue Ramsar Site, is classified as a Regional Nature Reserve.

The Tour du Valat library is a unique documentation centre in the Mediterranean region, specialised in wetland ecology and visited by many scientists, students and teachers. It was one of the institutions, which participated in the creation of the MedWet initiative in 1991, and it has contributed to the implementation of Ramsar principles across the whole Mediterranean basin.

We are delighted to recognize this globally important centre’s achievements on behalf of all those involved in the conservation and management of wetlands.