Luc Hoffmann was an extraordinary naturalist who believed fiercely in the value and protection of the planet’s wild splendour.

Seeing science and research as the keys to success, Luc inspired collaboration across a community of trusted partners and committed conservationists.

Through an untiring generosity of spirit, he effected change across countries and continents, transforming nature conservation into a global movement.

Mobilising popular support, Luc co-founded WWF in 1961 and helped create many other celebrated conservation organisations such as Wetlands InternationalPRCM, or the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.


"Conservation is not the protection of nature against human development, but the preservation of life supporting systems and processes as a basis for a lasting development."

Key moments


Iconic sites

Between 1947 and 1993, inspired by his passion for birds and wetlands, Luc dedicated much of his time and energy to the conservation of five iconic sites: the Camargue in France, the Bijagos archipelago in Guinea-Bissau, Doñana in Spain, the Prespa Lakes in Greece, North Macedonia and Albania and the Banc d’Arguin in Mauritania. These unique places, which all have exceptional natural value, are part of MAVA’s heritage.


A foundation based on Luc Hoffmann’s vision and action

In 1994, Luc Hoffmann founded MAVA to ‘promote the protection of nature’ and consolidate his lifelong personal support for conservation.

The beginnings of the foundation were informal, relying on Luc’s personal vision, commitment, and wisdom, as well as on the foundation’s Board.

In 2005, the recruitment of an administrative and technical officer marked the birth of the secretariat.


Expanding our portfolio and structure

In 2010, we developed our first strategic plan and professionalised the foundation by strengthening the secretariat and governance.

André Hoffmann took over from his father as President, further focusing the foundation’s work on the conservation of biodiversity in the Mediterranean Basin, West Africa, the Alpine Arc and Switzerland, and on the promotion of a sustainable economy.

In a step towards consolidation, MAVA and the Fondation Internationale du Banc d’Arguin (FIBA) merged in 2015.


Investing in sustainable partnerships

In 2016, we launched the final phase of our grant-making. Built on a set of 24 Outcome Action Plans, it aimed to connect projects and partners and deliver common results, creating strategic partnerships.

Securing a lasting impact and enabling key partners to continue their work after MAVA’s closure in 2022 was a philosophy that shaped the approach of this last phase. An Impact & Sustainability Unit was created to ensure the sustainability of conservation actions we supported over the years.

As planned by the founder, MAVA ceased all grant-making at the end of 2022 and closed administratively in June 2023.