Delivered by H.E. Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative
I thank Under-Secretary-General Griffiths and Secretary-General Grynspan for their informative briefings.
The war in Ukraine is yet another stark reminder of how humanitarian suffering in one part of our globalized world translates into more suffering in other parts.
In Ukraine, the approach of winter, attacks on infrastructure, and shifting front lines pose new risks to civilians, where the human toll has already been enormous. Given Ukraine’s and Russia’s central role in the global food supply chain, local events there often have an immediate short-term effect on commodity prices world-wide, and those short-term price movements affect the long-term food security of people around the world. As we have highlighted before, these effects are particularly devastating on the most vulnerable communities in Africa and the Middle East.
In July, the two agreements reached sought to address the short- and medium-term food security impacts of the crisis. The UAE welcomed the Black Sea Grain Initiative and the MOU between Russia and the UN to facilitate the export of fertilizers, which have undoubtedly helped to alleviate pressure on global food supplies and prices.
The attacks over this past weekend on Russian vessels in the Bay of Sevastopol and the suspension of Russia from participation in the Initiative have already led to price hikes on the market and can jeopardize grain supply for the most fragile countries.
It is important to remember that the Black Sea Grain Initiative does not operate in a vacuum. It is a delicate undertaking that relies on the smooth coordination of a number of direct and indirect stakeholders – from ship owners and operators and insurers. Underlying all this are the assurances by the parties of a safe and secure environment for all vessels engaged in the Initiative. It is vital that all parties maintain trust in the mechanism. Changes to any part of this delicate construct, however, will result in ripple effects throughout the entire chain. They affect both food, as well as fertilizer exports, and they lead to real-life consequences in places that are most in need of these commodities.
With more than a hundred vessels registered to be inspected by the JCC, in a moment of persistent global food insecurity, we urge all stakeholders to address their differences, to eliminate the uncertainties, and reengage on this process. We also underline the importance of agreeing to a solution regarding the export of ammonia, a key component of fertilizers, in order to prevent an even more catastrophic global food crisis next year. I also wish to commend the Secretary-General and others for their efforts towards achieving these goals.
Over the last few months, the UAE has underlined the importance of ensuring that commodities freed for export by the agreements reach those most in need. Thus far – as Martin Griffiths has already outlined – 9.3 million tons have been shipped via the JCC established by the Grain Initiative, approximately three quarters of which was corn or wheat. Beyond easing the strain on food markets, the agreements importantly signaled that positive outcomes were possible with constructive engagement, even while the conflict escalated in rhetoric and on the ground.
We commend the significant efforts by all parties that resulted in these agreements, and we reiterate that the full implementation, expansion, and extension of the agreements would have a beneficial impact on global food security. In addition to Ukrainian civilians, the victims of this war have been the women, men, and children of the Global South. The ones impacted by the limited access to food, by the high commodity prices and the refocusing of international attention and resources elsewhere. These latest developments only widen that gap, so we need to redouble our efforts to protect those whose lives have been upended by this war, both in Ukraine and in the rest of the world.
As the conflict is extending into its eighth month, we stress once again the importance of de-escalation and finding the right diplomatic off-ramp – and soon. It is vital to identify and build upon areas of convergence, including to address the global impacts of the conflict, and work towards bringing a peaceful end to it. For a sustainable peace to be achieved, there is no alternative to a cessation of hostilities throughout Ukraine and to engagement in good-faith in a dialogue to bringing about a diplomatic resolution. The UAE is committed to doing whatever it can to facilitate dialogue with key stakeholders to address this urgent matter.
Thank you, Mr. President.