That was the message conveyed by the UN Humanitarian Affairs chief, Martin Griffiths, to a meeting held on Thursday in Istanbul, to discuss the future of the Initiative, with senior official from the signatories to the deal, Russia, and Ukraine, together with the UN and Türkiye, which also mediated the agreement.
Vital for global food security
In a note issued to correspondents from the UN Spokesperson’s Office on the meeting, Mr. Griffiths congratulated the parties to the deal – who also run the Joint Coordination Centre hub, based in Istanbul – on reaching the 30 million metric tonnes mark from Ukraine, and “reiterated the importance of the Initiative for global food security”.
The UN relief chief also recognized the important contribution of food and fertilizer exports from Russia.
The meeting discussed the recent proposals to advance the deal, made by the UN, namely the resumption of the Togliatti-Odesa ammonia pipeline, the longer extension of the Initiative, improvements at the JCC, “for stable operations and exports, as well as other issues raised by the parties.”
“The parties presented their views and agreed to engage with those elements going forward”, said the Spokesperson’s Office.
Mr. Griffiths stressed that the United Nations would “continue to work closely with all sides to achieve the continuation and full implementation of the Initiative, in pursuit of their broader shared commitment to addressing global food insecurity.”
Grain for those most in need
Latest detailed figures on the Initiative released on Monday showed that nearly 600,000 tonnes of grain have been shipped by vessels chartered by the World Food Programme (WFP) to support its humanitarian work in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Yemen.
Last year, Ukraine supplied more than half of WFP’s total global wheat procurement, similar to 2021.
As talks have continued in the past few months about extending the deal – which provides a safe maritime humanitarian corridor for shipping out of Ukrainian ports – exports have dipped by nearly 30 per cent, with JCC inspection rates dropping significantly to an average of 2.9 completed inspections daily, for the month of May.
Monday’s update from the Office of the UN Coordinator for the deal, said that the UN and Türkiye’s delegation were working closely with Ukraine and Russia, aiming to facilitate movements and inspections of inbound and outbound ships, “within the framework of the Initiative and agreed procedures, while discussions for the future of the Initiative continue.”