Top 10 negotiators at COP18

As the negotiators begin to battle into the early morning hours, we thought we’d highlight some of the nicest negotiators we have met here in Doha

Gregory Andrews(Australia)


Say what you like about Australia’s policies, we’ve got one great negotiator in Gregory Andrews. Not only is he a nice guy who proved himself this year facilitating the discussions on long term finance, he’s also an avid defender of social justice back home in Australia. Oh, and in case you’re wondering how he’s been able to keep his cool here in Doha, it’s because he used to live in red-centre of Australia’s desert, not so far from where I used to call home. No wonder he’s such a nice guy.

Naderev “Yeb” Saño (The Philippines) In September this year I called “Yeb” the Tom Cruise of the UNFCCC, and he definitely has remained a show stopper at COP18. While most parties have turned up to tango negotiator-style, Yeb seems set on achieving his own one-man ‘mission impossible’; to resurrect the Kyoto protocol from desert sands of political crucifixion. Oh, but he’s also one of the humblest guys you can possibly bump into across the corridors. He even took some time to come down and deliver a heartwarming speech to young delegates at this year’s Conference of Youth. And yesterday, delivered one of the most heartwarming interventions in UN history.

Claudia Salerno (Venezuela)


Table topping, heart-stopping, hotter-than-a-Jalapeño Claudia only arrived in Doha this week, but already sparks are starting to fly. On her first morning here, it was Singapore’s Burhan Gahfoor who commented that “it’s good to see Claudia here, because now you know things are going to get serious”. As the great hope for all of us sick and tired of the Business As Usual approach to interventions, lets just hope that Durban’s passion hasn’t run out just yet.

Dessima Williams (Grenada) Dessima has been a moral stalwart of the talks for quite some time now. Widely renowned for her lovely nature, poetic interventions and island pride, you could also add hard working to the list of likable qualities ascribed to this incredible negotiator. In Bangkok this year, Dessima was spotted burning the midnight oil longer than any other, working until the cleaners kicked her out 3 nights in a row.

Rene Orellana (Bolivia)


This man has been a stalwart against the harmful effects of markets in the UNFCCC and can always be depended upon to remind developed countries just how big the giggatonne gap is between their (lack of) ambition and science.  But what sets this guy apart, is his zen-like demeanor. With a healthy shot of passion, a pound of patriotism and a pinch meditative peace, Rene is sure make an impact whenever he intervenes.


Paul Watkinson (EU but also wears a French hat from time to time) When this man isn’t actively finding a compromise, he’s pretty keen to tweet. And generally, he’s just a pretty approachable guy (whether online or live). So while the EU might be getting a bit of criticism here, you can bet this guy is fighting behind the scenes fighting for all of us.

Yasni France

Madeleine Rose Diouf Sarr (Senegal) As the KP talks have prolonged well past peak negotiating periods, Madam Madeleine has been the one divine dividing line, keeping the lions from tearing each other apart. Not only has she been ever persistent in pushing these discussions through the mud of polarized parties, but as I realized late last night, in the midst of unanimous madness, Madam Madeline has remained true to her magnanimous grace.

           Tulio Andrade (Brazil) According to the recommendations from female negotiators here in COP18,  Tulio is this year’s hottest ticket and unofficial Mr. Doha. So much so, many negotiators seem caught somewhere between a swoon and a sigh whenever Tullio takes the mic.  The unofficial “knight in shining armani”. But its his cause to compromise, not only in his content but in his calming tone that has impressed me most, and could well act as a model for many others here to follow…


Franz Perrez (Switzerland) When you’re looking to inject some urgency into the negotiations, this guy puts his foot to the floor all day every day. Don’t rely on him for kind offers of  Swiss compassion, this ticking time bomb emits more radiative forces than the sun and is the ultimate accountability measure here at the talks. For all those countries unwilling to up their ambition in the next few days, watch out, because Franz will hunt you down!

The unknown negotiator??? Or the great leader behind the scenes With two days left, these talks are in dire need of a great and heroic leader. While the ministers might take the limelight, we all know it’s the negotiators who fuel the fire, and national leaders who light the spark. If we are headed for a successful Doha outcome, we will need a leader to stand up and prove their nobility by bringing these parties together for a miraculous ending to what could be the most critical 48 hours of the UNFCCC. The pressure is on now. With divisions across almost all negotiating tracks, we need someone to step up and show the world that 2022 World Cup is coming to the right place! So who will save Doha? Perhaps its now up to the very people who brought the World Cup here.

Jonathan Pershing (USA) …just kidding

  • Guy Edwards

    Very entertaining list. Here’s a couple of other suggestions: Paula Caballero (Colombia); Monica Araya (Costa Rica) and Jose Alberto Garibaldo (Dominican Republic).

  • Guy Edwards

    Very entertaining list. Here’s a couple of other suggestions: Paula
    Caballero (Colombia); Monica Araya (Costa Rica) and Jose Alberto
    Garibaldi (Dominican Republic).

  • Artur Wieczorek

    Hey Chris, how come you put Australian guy at the top? I got a sense there’s a healthy dose of national prejudice here ;)

  • Chris

    @twitter-230909386:disqus it’s not in any specific order…but maybe you could think of one for me. Who’s your Number 1?

  • Adriana Gutierrez

    Awesome article, but I think Colombia’s negotiator is missing, and also the negotiatior from Dominican Republic

  • Luis

    You left out Argentina‘sClaudia

  • Luis

    You left out Argentina‘s Julia

  • N

    Gregory Andrews is my COP crush.

  • Doha

    Good list…but is it really necessary to comment on the looks of the Venezuelan negotiator? Don’t detract from peoples intelligence and skill.