I would like to thank you for the opportunity to speak in the Council today.
I have three points to raise:
The traditional grain export routes from Ukraine to world markets were jeopardized and interrupted by the Russian war against Ukraine. The Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI) re-activated these traditional grain export routes and became a lifeline for millions of people across the globe. The Initiative is a remarkable diplomatic achievement, made possible by the United Nations and Türkiye.
Contrary to some false accusations that we have heard, the implementation of the BSGI has been successful: more than 9 million tons of grain have already been supplied to the world through this channel alone, a large part of it to developing countries. The BSGI has succeeded in bringing prices down to their pre-war level of January 2022, as measured by the FAO price index.
However, prices are still too high. The international community is working on many fronts to mitigate this food crisis. That is why the G7 Foreign Ministers will discuss the Russian suspension of the BSGI and its potential global implications, in particular food security in the most vulnerable countries at their meeting in Germany at the end of this week. They will look into how to best support the efforts of UN OCHA and Türkiye. We are pleased that the AU Commission and the Foreign Ministers of Kenya and Ghana will join these discussions.
It is encouraging that dozens of ships are currently on their way to bring more wheat from Ukraine to the world. We commend the UN, Türkiye and Ukraine for having taken a swift decision making possible to continue grain shipments via the Black Sea. We would like to underline our full support for these efforts, and call on all parties involved to do their utmost to contribute to a safe passage for grain shipments to countries in need.
What the world now needs is a public commitment to an extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative beyond its initial 120 days. I once again thank SG Guterres as well as OCHA, UNCTAD and WFP for their efforts in this regard.