Keynote speaker

  • Dr. Ricardo Rapallo, Food and Agriculture Organization (Chile). Dr. Rapallo is Food Security Officer of the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations (FAO) at the Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean. He is also the Coordinator of the Hunger-Free Latin American and the Caribbean Initiative Support Project. He is an Agricultural Engineer and has a PhD from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. He started work for FAO in 2004 as consultant in the FAO Representation in Guatemala. Since 2009 he has worked in the Sub-regional Office of FAO for Central America as Associated Professional Officer of Policy Assistance. Shortly afterwards he started as Food Security Officer in the Management of Agricultural Development Economics Division (ESA) in Rome.



WG1. Natural Resource Development

  • Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, Conservation International (Costa Rica). Mr. Rodríguez is the former Minister of Environment and Energy from the Government of Costa Rica and is currently Vice President of Conservation Policy at Conservation International (CI), where he is responsible for providing strategic direction and leading a team that informs and influences bilateral, multilateral and international policies impacting the nexus of human well-being, economic development, climate change, ecosystem management and biodiversity conservation. In addition to this conservation work, Mr. Rodríguez has experience as a lawyer and held various political posts in Costa Rica. He is internationally recognized for promoting the economic value of standing forests within protected areas, private forests and indigenous reserves. This approach provides local communities with economic incentives to act as stewards of nature’s bounty.


  • Gleyse Peiter, Rede Nacional de Mobilização Social e Conselho Nacional de Segurança Alimentar (Brazil). Ms. Peiter is the Executive Secretary of COEP – National Network for Social Action, which works throughout the country by mobilizing its more than 110 members in 27 states and over 30 municipalities, and brings together partnerships to fight against poverty. Since 2004 she has been counselor to the CONSEA – National Council on Food and Nutrition Security, the main purpose of which is to ensure food and nutrition security and the enforcement of the human right to food for all Brazilians. She currently is coordinator of the Working Group on Climate Change, Poverty and Inequality of the Brazilian Forum on Climate Change and the Laboratório Herbert de Souza – Tecnologia e Cidadania (Herbert de Souza Laboratory – Citizenship and Technology), which works to articulate technological developments and social innovation to contribute to generating knowledge on issues related to the sustainable development model.


WG2. Food Security

  • Xaviera Cabada Barrón, El Poder del Consumidor (Mexico). Ms. Cabada holds a Masters’ Degree in Nutrition Sciences and is a community outreach worker and nutritionist. She is the Coordinator of the consumer organization, El Poder del Consumidor. Working primarily in the area of popular education, she has been the speaker at various courses, forums and conferences for government institutions, universities and NGOs. She collaborates with healthcare professionals, legislators, academics, activists and community outreach workers. She has represented Mexico at events on the topics of: consumers (El Salvador, CDC), breastfeeding (India, IBFAN), and non-communicable diseases (Switzerland, World Health Assembly with Consumers International). Her main interests include working with people to share and build practical solutions to improve their health and quality of life.


  • Dr. Hugo Melgar-Quiñonez, McGill University (Canada). Dr. Melgar-Quiñonez is the Director of the Institute for Global Food Security and the Margaret A. Gilliam Faculty Scholar in Food Security at McGill University in Canada. He moved to McGill University in 2012, after 9 years at the Ohio State University. Previously he worked as a researcher at the University of California in Davis and at the Mexican Institute of Public Health. He holds a degree in Medicine and a doctoral degree from the Friedrich Schiller University in Germany. He has worked on food security related research projects in over 20 countries in the Americas, Africa and Asia.


Working Group organized by the Group of Women Parliamentarians. Connecting women's rights to food security

  • Dr. Cristina Tirado, Organización Panamericana de la Salud / OMS (Brazil). For the past 20 years, Dr. Cristina Tirado has been working on sustainable development, food, health, climate and gender issues with PAHO/WHO, FAO, governmental and nongovernmental organizations and universities worldwide. Currently she serves as food safety adviser for the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and is adjunct professor at the School of Public Health of the University of California Los Angeles. Dr. Tirado is a moderator of the U.N. Standing Committee on Nutrition’s Working Group on Climate Change and Nutrition, a contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) last assessment report, and a health advocate at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conferences of the Parties. She has developed a leadership program for women to enhance their ability to address the challenges of climate change on nutrition security and health at the community and global level. She is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and has MS and PhD degrees in environmental sciences from Cornell University. She has published numerous research and policy publications and books.


  • Presenter: Guadalupe Valdez, Member of the Chamber of Deputies (Dominican Republic). Ms. Valdez began her political career when she was only 15 years old upon joining the student organization of the Popular Socialist Party and becoming a member of the Socialist Youth branch of the Socialist Party. In 1984, she joined the Dominican Liberation Party as the organization’s vice-secretary, and remained active until 1991. In 1992, she led the development of the Alliance for Democracy (APD in Spanish), a political organization to which she presently belongs, forming part of its National Directive. Her political activity has been centred primarily on the incorporation of participative methodologies and political education, and towards local development, decentralization, and democratic governance. She is currently a member of the national Chamber of Deputies of the Dominican Republic (2010-2016) and is the Regional Coordinator of the Parliamentary Front Against Hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean. Ms. Valdez graduated cum laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in economics, and she holds a Masters’ Degree in Higher Education from the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration.