Ede, The Netherlands – Wetlands International owes great respect to the Counsellor of Honour of our organisation, Professor Geoffrey V. T. Matthews, who passed away on 22 January 2013 at the age of 89 years. Professor Mathews served as Honorary Director of the International Wildfowl Research Bureau (one of the predecessor organisations of Wetlands International), succeeding Dr Luc Hoffmann in that role in 1969.
Professor Matthews devoted his energies to developing and promoting the concept of an intergovernmental convention for the conservation and wise use of wetland habitats and resources which after a series of negotiations finally resulted in the Ramsar Convention in 1971 - he is considered a founding father of this important global instrument. His work to support development and implementation of the Convention continued unabated until his passing away.
A great scientist in the field of waterfowl biology, Professor Matthews played a key role in the current knowledge on migratory bird navigation. He remained active in matters of waterbird research long after that as well, including as a Patron of the ‘Waterbirds around the World’ Conference (along with Dr Harvey Nelson, Dr Hugh Boyd and Prof Eckhart Kuijken and Dr Luc Hoffmann) in Edinburgh in April 2004.
Professor Matthews who devoted all his life to conservation will be sorely missed. We offer our deepest sympathies to his family.
A detailed tribute appears on the Ramsar website.
From left to right: Prof Geoffrey Matthews, Prof Eckhart Kuijken and Dr Fernando Spina on the ‘Waterbirds around the World’ Conference in Edinburgh in April 2004.
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