Paloma Zapata


Paloma Zapata was, until recently, the coordinator of the G77 group of 130 developing countries and China. She played a key role in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol negotiations that bound certain developed countries to reduce carbon emissions. She had been the Philippine representative in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change since its inception in 1994 until she was dropped from the official delegation in the 2009 convention for reasons unknown. (Sudan later adopted her.)

Dubbed the “dragon woman,” she is one of the first Filipinos that comes to mind when speaking of eco-warriors. With her sharp memory and fearless questioning, she negotiates hard such that a Westerner who asked not to be named told The Guardian, “Even the Americans quake in fear of her. She terrifies them.”