More than 2,000 people from 35 countries attended the first day of the Third World Summit for Food Sovereignty and Zero Hunger on Thursday at the Mall del Rio convention center. Among those speaking at the opening session was President Lenin Moreno, also in town to take a test ride on the city’s tram.
In his remarks, Moreno stressed the importance of eradicating child malnutrition and hunger and said Ecuador is making concrete steps to achieve that goal. “A world with zero hunger is one of humanity’s greatest obligations and until the 815 million people who go hungry every day, none of us should have a peaceful night’s sleep.”
In addition to Moreno and Vice President María Alejandra Vicuña, several former Latin American presidents attended opening ceremonies, including Óscar Arias (Costa Rica), Felipe Calderón (Mexico), César Gaviria (Colombia), Laura Chinchilla (Costa Rica), Eduardo Frei (Chile), Eduardo Duhalde (Argentina), Hipólito Mejía (Dominican Republic) and Rosalía Arteaga (Ecuador). Former Spanish prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero also attended.
One panel discussion focused on Senegal’s “Millennium Goals” program to eradicate hunger in that African nation. “We have made dramatic progress in reducing hunger in rural areas of our country,” said Senegalese provincial governor Adam Diouf. “We have adopted a food and food sovereignty strategy to find sustainable solutions and to promote self-sufficiency and modernization of agricultural practices. The effort involves protecting our water resources and is connected to our ongoing efforts to fight an HIV epidemic.”
In another discussion group, former president of Champagne-Ardennes, France, Jean-Paul Bachy, said that waste and inefficiency in food production and consumption must be addressed on an international scale. “More than 30 percent of what is produced is thrown away and population distribution is a central factor in the problem,” he said. “We must look closely at the metropolization of society as a paradigm for sustainable development.”
In addition to attending the hunger conference, Moreno was also in Cuenca to check out progress of the city’s tram system. On Thursday afternoon, he took a ride on the tram with Cuenca Mayor Marcelo Cabrera and transportation minister Paul Granda.
In comments after his ride, Moreno again said the government would make sure the tram project is successfully completed,