Dwight Peck's personal website
goes to Valencia, and Dwight tags along
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.
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.
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 . . .
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
head table, with the Secretary General (left), and Vice-Presidents of the COP
Cuba and Iran.
plenary hall, four football fields long (with closed-circuit TVs all over so that
delegates could see the head table).
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)
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.
Documents Distribution Centre
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.
language translation team (Ricardo Pochtar, local assistant Rosa, head of the
team our old pal Juan Carlos Valdovinos, local assistant Alfonso, and Alfredo
language translation team (Catherine Lokschin, head of the team Danièle
Devitre, assistant Marlène Chaperon, assistant Fabienne Khalifat-Turner,
Australian delegation seeking revenge on the photographer
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.
Earth Negotiations Bulletin team, who provided overnight summaries of each day's
events, poignant photographs, and a summary analysis of the entire COP8.
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).
finally, it's over, a day spent touring the city with the delegate from Slovenia.
some tapas in the old city
Museum of Sciences was the venue for Ramsar COP8; the Museum of Arts has a ways
to go yet.
and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative,
rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 14 December 2002, revised 14 January 2011, 12 February 2014.