Dwight Peck's personal website

Georgia in the springtime

Work and play in the Caucasus

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

The 41st meeting of the Ramsar Standing Committee, late April 2010

The Plenaries

After two days of subgroups and regional meetings and an excursion, we're ready for three days of plenary sessions, and I'm going on duty now.

We begin with addresses by Georgian governors and environment ministers and a men's chorus with traditional Georgian songs, or laments, or tuneful pleas.

After the traditional songs, the delegations are settling in -- a very long day, with some fairly contentious issues, but all in good fun.

The children's wetland painting contest has been displayed in the hotel lobby all week, and now it's time for the winners.

The winners get interviews on national TV.

Dwight gets to watch from overhead -- buckling in to write up the first day's report overnight whilst my colleagues bus off to the reception in Batumi offered by the Ministry of Environment and Transport.

Our Spartan quarters, not too far from the mini-bar, until the first day's plenary report is ready for circulation to the Parties in the morning.

Whilst Kristin and my colleague Mireille chow down on Georgian cuisine in Batumi

Day Two dawns earlier than usual, with more contentious issues and a great lot of the usual blah-blah, very necessary to international conservation progress however crushingly boring it may be.

Luckily, Mr Kim of South Korea, the Chair of the Standing Committee, is a born diplomat and keeps feathers mostly unruffled.

Sybille from Switzerland, host country of our Secretariat, is pressing a point, and Olivier is contemplating it.

The "CEPA Experts", some of them anyway, with my colleague Sandra (centre).

A pause in the plenary session as Anada, the Secretary General, welcomes a new Ramsar site from Michael Honeth from the Marshall Islands.

My colleague Montse, who keeps the delegations supplied with more documents than they can keep up with.

Another all-nighter in the back rooms, with an awkward still-life painting presented as a gift to the Secretary General. Everybody's off tonight in Batumi again for a dinner offered by the Autonomous Republic of Adjara.

The third plenary day, perhaps the most contentious of the lot, with the Chair (right) rising above it, the Deputy Secretary General (centre) drafting a riposte, and me (left) annoyed.

Breaking up now, planning future contacts, everything is forgiven. The meeting paused under Any Other Business to present me with a retirement gift of a nice mountain painting and a basket of Georgian beer (which got us through the next night of the plenary reports).

A group photo of the Asia and Oceania regions

The Secretary General on telly

Group photo

And now, in an hour or so, we're out of here, headed for Istanbul. My overnights report of the meeting is here, not for the faint-hearted.

Back to Batumi airport, and thence to Turkey again.

Some of the photos on this page were taken by the Georgian government photographer for our use.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 10 May 2010, revised 5 October 2014.

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