Friday, July 12, 2024

UN Working to Ensure Extension of Black Sea Grain Initiative Amid Russia-Ukraine Conflict

United Nations, March 18 ( : The Black Sea Grain Initiative, an agreement signed in July 2022 between Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, and the United Nations to facilitate grain and fertilizer exports, has been extended for another 60 days until May 17, 2023.

The United Nations, under the leadership of Secretary-General António Guterres, has been working tirelessly to ensure the continuation of the initiative, which is critical for global food security and stability.

The extension comes as the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues to escalate, with both countries imposing export restrictions on agricultural products. The Black Sea Grain Initiative has been instrumental in calming markets and stabilizing global food prices, with close to 25 million metric tons of foodstuffs safely exported from Ukraine since August 2022.

Additionally, the World Food Programme has been able to transport over half a million metric tons of wheat to support humanitarian operations in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Yemen.

Despite progress being made, challenges remain, particularly with regard to payment systems. Martin Griffiths, the UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, acknowledged that “there is more to do” in overcoming these impediments. However, he reiterated the importance of the initiative for global food security and vowed to continue efforts to fully implement the agreements.

Russia has expressed its willingness to extend the initiative, but only for another 60 days. While the commercial export of Ukrainian products continues to bring considerable profits to Kiev, restrictions on Russian agricultural exporters remain in place.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin emphasized that their further stance will depend on tangible progress on normalizing their agricultural exports.

The UN’s efforts to facilitate the full implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative are critical in mitigating the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on global food security.

The extension of the initiative is a positive development, but more work needs to be done to overcome the remaining impediments. It is crucial that all parties continue to engage closely to ensure the uninterrupted flow of food and fertilizers to global markets.

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