Peck, seriously unemployed, wandered into the Ramsar Secretariat (i.e., the secretariat
of the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)) in January 1993 with the recommendation
of a friend then working there, and got hired on for various writing assignments
at an hourly pay rate (to supplement the Swiss unemployment benefits).
Dwight was snapped up on a 2/3-time contract in June 1993 (which he supplemented
with a two-year term as Librarian of the American
Library of Geneva, also at 2/3-time -- you do the math) and began
rapporteuring, amongst other things, like faxing, photocopying, windowwashing,
cleaning the loos, etc.
Convention on Wetlands is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework
for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and sustainable
use of wetlands and their resources, for the benefit of present and future human
generations. Some 168 nations are presently Contracting Parties to the Convention,
and they have designated more than 2,181 wetlands (totaling more than 208.5 million
hectares) for protection and sustainable management under the Convention's List
of Wetlands of International Importance. [That's our blurb.]
In July 1995, Mr Peck
joined Ramsar full-time and became the Secretariat's rapporteur and under various
titles its information officer. Here he is brooding second-from-left
on the podium at the 6th meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties
to the Convention, Brisbane, Australia,
early 1996, whilst reporting on COP6, he set up the Convention's website
and commenced spending most of his work time and all of his free time creating
some 26,000 Web pages and images, all in aid of wetlands and international
cooperation. Then in 2004 the silly new boss arrived, Mr P. Bridgewater of sorry memory, with the sound of dishware
falling out of the kitchen cabinet, and Peck like everyone else took to putting in his 8 hours for his
paycheck and awaiting a change of regime [which, happily, occurred pretty quickly, in July 2007].
Night, 1999! In every 10-day triennial meeting of the Conference
of the Parties, one day late in the proceedings is left free for field excursions
for the government delegates, so that the secretariat can prepare
the final drafts of all the documents to be adopted in the final plenary sessions.
2 a.m. in San Josť, Costa Rica: late night
staff rejoice at having
finished stuffing mailboxes and prepare to rise at dawn the next day.
Standing Committee meeting,
Sandra guarding the Documentation Centre, COP8, Valencia, Spain, November 2002
Post-COP9 hilarity in Uganda, 2005
Celebrating the end of COP10, Changwon, South Korea, 2008
Reponding to an unwelcome intervention from the floor, in Georgia, 2010, with the Chair (right) rising above it, the Deputy Secretary General (centre) planning a riposte, and Peck (left) annoyed.
present , Mr Peck is "semi-retired", working at 50% on official documentation and publications editing and layout, grateful to our new Communications Officer as she takes over all the stressful parts of the job. No more ten days of all-nighters at meetings of the Conference of the Parties.
Not exactly. Here we are in Bucharest, Romania, 2012, for Ramsar COP11,
present , Mr Peck is "fully-retired", and loving it. Goodbye, wetlands; goodbye, paychecks.
Here we are in Punta del Este, Uruguay, 2015, for Ramsar COP12, photographing our entire on-site translation teams in a suitably convivial manner. With Kristin, too, on the right.
And that's it -- No more. Retired!