Secretary-General Urges Renewal, Full Implementation of Black Sea Grain Initiative, Noting Resultant Food Price Drop Has Saved 100 Million People from Extreme Poverty
The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres:
The Secretary-General expresses his unwavering commitment and strong support to the renewal and full implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, as well as for the full implementation of the agreement signed with the Russian Federation. Both agreements aim to ensure that grain and fertilizers from Ukraine and the Russian Federation reach global markets at the speed and price needed to avert a global food crisis and ensure food security. The United Nations continues its active and constant engagement with all parties towards that goal.
We underline the urgency of doing so to contribute to food security across the world, and to cushion the suffering that this global cost-of-living crisis is inflicting on billions of people. If food and fertilizers do not reach global markets now, farmers will not have fertilizers at the right time and at a price they can afford as the planting season begins, endangering crops in all regions of the world in 2023 and 2024, with dramatic effect on food production and food prices worldwide. The current crisis of affordability will turn into a crisis of availability.
The impact of the agreement signed in Istanbul has been clearly demonstrated. Exports of grains and other food products under the Black Sea Grain Initiative have surpassed 9 million tons, with the close monitoring and coordination of the Joint Coordination Centre, comprising representatives from the Russian Federation, Türkiye, Ukraine and the United Nations under the terms of the agreement. This would not have been made possible without the hard work of all representatives at the Joint Coordination Centre. We express our gratitude to Türkiye for hosting the Joint Coordination Centre and supporting actively its operations.
The resumption of exports has significantly contributed to lower prices of wheat and other commodities. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Food Index has declined for 7 months in a row. According to our estimates based on the World Bank model, the reduction of prices for staple foods has indirectly prevented some 100 million people from falling into extreme poverty.
The initial duration of the agreement to facilitate grains and fertilizer exports from Ukraine is 120 days and can be extended automatically on 19 November if no party objects. We urge all parties to make every effort to renew the Black Sea Grain Initiative and implement both agreements to their fullest, including the expedited removal of any remaining impediments to Russian grain and fertilizer export.
The United Nations is fully committed to continuing to work with all parties to ensure that we reach this goal. We do not underestimate the challenges, but we know they can be overcome.
Governments, shipping companies, grain and fertilizer traders and farmers all over the world are now looking for clarity on the future.