UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called on Russia to return to the Black Sea grain deal.
“For my part, I remain committed to facilitating the unimpeded access to global markets for food products and fertilizers from both Ukraine and the Russian Federation, and to deliver the food security that every person deserves,” Guterres said at the opening session of the three-day UN Food Systems Summit +2 in Rome.
“I call on the Russian Federation to return to the implementation of the Black Sea Initiative, in line with my latest proposal,” he said. “I urge the global community to stand united for effective solutions in this essential effort.”
He underlined that Russia and Ukraine are “both essential to global food security.”
Both countries accounted for roughly 30% of global wheat and barley exports, a fifth of all maize, and more than half of all sunflower oil, he noted.
“With the termination of the Black Sea Initiative, the most vulnerable will pay the highest price,” the UN secretary-general said.
“The dire picture has grown bleaker with the Russian Federation’s termination of the Black Sea Initiative that enabled the safe export of more than 32 million metric tons of food on more than 1,000 vessels from Ukrainian ports,” Guterres said.
He added that the grain deal, together with the memorandum of understanding with Russia to facilitate Russian food and fertilizer exports, have been “lifelines” for global food security and global food price stability.
“We are already seeing the negative effect on global wheat and corn prices which hurts everyone,” he said.
Last week, Russia pulled out of the Black Sea grain deal, saying the Russian part of the agreement was not implemented.
The agreement, initially signed in July of last year in Istanbul by Türkiye, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine, was aimed at resuming grain exports from Ukrainian ports which had been halted as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war which began in February 2022.