25th Meeting of the Ramsar Standing Committee -- the photo gallery
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|25th Meeting of the Ramsar Standing Committee|
Gland, Switzerland, 23 - 27 October 2000
Photos of the 25th Meeting of the Standing Committee
The 25th meeting of the Standing Committee was by most accounts an "hilarious event" -- "real good fun", according to one observer; "What a gas!" according to another. You can see the evident joy on the faces of the participants here, and if you look closely into the interpreters' booths above, you can see that they seem not even to be there, and no one so far has noticed. But still more fun was awaiting the participants . . .
Preliminary Subgroup Meetings, 23-24 October
Ramsar Standing Committee meetings follow a very practical rhythm in which Subgroups on the very technical matters (Finance and Budget, COP8, Strategic Plan 2003-2008) meet for two days in advance of the Plenary Sessions in order to ask all the right questions, nail down all the details, and write reports for the convenient analysis of the plenary body once the SC's formal agenda has got under way pell mell. But sometimes the Subgroups pause for a catnap (above).
In this photo, Guillermo Lingua and Nick Davidson seem to be waiting for Ammar Boumezbeur (nice yellow tie) to say something, and he seems not to know that they're waiting. How long will this go on, where will this end? (Answer: When the lunch bell rings.)
The Subgroup meeting cannot proceed until Dr Davidson finds his pen, and it's not enough that Chairman Paul Mafabi (Uganda) would gladly lend his own pen for the duration of the Subgroup meeting, if that's the only remedy.
The Slovak Republic (having recently acquired a new pen) has nothing of note to contribute at this point in the proceedings, being entirely occupied with fanciful doodling.
The first Plenary Sessions
The Chair of the Standing Committee inaugurates the first Plenary Session by leading the group in an a cappella rendition of the Australian national anthem.
The Secretary General welcomes the meeting's participants and informs them that the doors have been locked by IUCN security staff, and nobody gets out of here alive until at least thirty (30) Standing Committee decisions have been adopted.
To add to the participants' consternation and unease, the SG informs the meeting that the famous Annotated Ramsar List is available for memorization, and a pop quiz will be conducted immediately in front of the drinks table at the 6 p.m. reception.
Participants quickly begin trying to memorize their copies of the Annotated Ramsar List (José Juan Pérez Ramírez, left, and David Pritchard, center), except for Marco Solano (right), who has already got the whole thing down pat and can afford to watch others struggle with a quiet detachment.
Not all the participants in the plenary session are happy about the idea of memorizing 300 pages of trenchant descriptive analysis about more than 1000 Ramsar sites, some of which haven't been visited by anyone in years. But if that's part of the Standing Committee's duties and responsibilities (see Resolution VII.1, annex II), well, then, so be it.
The head table, as events really begin to gather speed (witness the rapporteur's look of desperate concentration), with the Deputy Secretary General, the Secretary General, and the Chairman trying to keep the Tide of History more or less confined to the Draft Agenda (DOC. SC25-1).