0Dwight Peck's personal website

Ramsar and Dwight

Mr 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).

Mr 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.

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The 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 172 nations are presently Contracting Parties (as of June 2024) to the Convention, and they have designated 2,518 wetlands (totaling more than 257 million hectares) for protection and sustainable management under the Convention's List of Wetlands of International Importance. [That's our blurb.]

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In July 1995, Mr Peck joined Ramsar full-time and became the Secretariat's rapporteur and under various titles its Communications 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, in 1996.

In 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 Peter 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].

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Documents 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.

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Standing Committee meeting, December 2001

Colleague Sandra guarding the Documentation Centre, COP8, Valencia, Spain, November 2002

Post-COP9 hilarity in Uganda, 2005

COP10, South Korea

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.

At present [2010], 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. [She didn't work out at all.]

Not exactly. Here we are in Bucharest, Romania, 2012, for Ramsar COP11,

At present [2014], 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! For real!

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 11 April 2001, updated 20 June 2024.

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