Dwight Peck's personal Web site

Ramsar goes to Valencia, and Dwight tags along


Beginning in Costa Rica in 1999, intensifying throughout 2000, getting really crazy throughout 2001, going screamingly beserk and running documentarily amok throughout 2002, preparations for the 8th meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties have dominated the psychological terrain for a long time. This triennial orgy of naive NGO zeal, governmental legalistic fastidiousness, contrary diplomacy, and craven results finally took place in Valencia, Spain, 18-26 November 2002, and left a trail of personal mayhem in its wake. After which, poor Mr Peck wandered about Valencia in a delirium for a day and then went home and tossed and turned for a week and a half, fighting off nightmares. And then arose once again and went back to the Secretariat to produce the COP Proceedings.

Generally, Ramsar COP8 (as it's called) was a semi-huge success, despite the various Foreign Office lawyers who came along to ruin it, and ecologically engaged viewers can see more brief summaries and photos on the Ramsar website and then read thorough daily summaries and concluding analyses on the Web pages of the International Institute of Sustainable Development's Earth Negotiations Bulletin, which reported from the scene almost round the clock.

This is the venue, the Prince Felipe Museum of Sciences in Valencia -- a science museum, note, and not a convention centre, so with lots and lots of odds and ends to be got ready, right up the last minute. Including building all the offices and exhibition areas from the floor up, configuring over a hundred computers, and lots of jury-rigged electrical wiring . . .

The Documents Distribution Centre still far from ready, with staff from the Ramsar Secretariat and Wetlands International stuffing T-shirts and guidebooks into cute carry-bags for the delegates.

The head table, with the Secretary General (left), and Vice-Presidents of the COP Cuba and Iran.

The plenary hall, four football fields long (with closed-circuit TVs all over so that delegates could see the head table).

The Ramsar website photographer, D. Peck, caught whilst pestering Dave Pritchard and John O'Sullivan of BirdLife International, photographed with his own camera by Emma Woodward of Australia (below)

The delegation of the USA spreading joy

The delegation of the UK

The Deputy Secretary General, Bill Phillips, and other Secretariat staff monitoring proceedings

Delegation of the Philippines

The Secretary General, Delmar Blasco, signing an MOU with the head of the Niger Basin Authority

Mr Peck viewing the exhibits . . .

. . . and discovering a photograph taken by daughter Marlowe Tyson Peck in Peru.

The Documents Distribution Centre

Sandra Hails guards the Document Centre from all unauthorized or illiterate personnel. Mr Peck and colleague Ms Hails were in charge of document production, revisions, and translations, and overseeing photocopy reproductions for the 1200 delegates, and frequently got so confused amongst Rev. 1, Rev. 2, and Rev. 3 of 46 different Resolutions, each of them in three languages, that they collapsed in laughter and put another beer away.

The Spanish language translation team (Ricardo Pochtar, local assistant Rosa, head of the team our old pal Juan Carlos Valdovinos, local assistant Alfonso, and Alfredo Serrano)

The French language translation team (Catherine Lokschin, head of the team Danièle Devitre, assistant Marlène Chaperon, assistant Fabienne Khalifat-Turner, Christiane Milev)

The Australian delegation seeking revenge on the photographer

Mr Peck, as immortalized at the end of a long ten days on the Earth Negotiations Bulletin Web site, in a photo taken by ENB's Leslie Paas (right, as immortalized on the Ramsar website), with her digital camera bigger than the state of Delaware.

The Earth Negotiations Bulletin team, who provided overnight summaries of each day's events, poignant photographs, and a summary analysis of the entire COP8, here.

Last night of the COP -- Most of the staff of the Ramsar Bureau and secretariat staff seconded from other organizations, wearing their goofy COP T-shirts (Secretary General left; Mr Peck taking the photo standing shakily on a chair).

When, finally, it's over, a day spent touring the city with the delegate from Slovenia.

And some tapas in the old city

Valencia's Museum of Sciences was the venue for Ramsar COP8; the Museum of Arts has a ways to go yet.


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 14 December 2002, revised 14 January 2011, 12 February 2014.


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