Delivered by: Her Excellency Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative
Thank you, Mr. President.
I’d like to join others in thanking Under-Secretary-General Griffiths for his informative briefing today. We support his strong message on the ripple effects of this conflict across the globe.
The war in Ukraine does not exist in a vacuum.
Food insecurity is just one way the conflict manifests on the global stage.
And it becomes a greater threat with each passing moment.
We are meeting in this chamber the day before the expiration of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, one of the few successes amidst the tragedy of this war.
For the purposes of today’s discussion, I will focus on the immediate humanitarian needs worldwide that Martin Griffiths has just outlined.
Let’s remember why the Initiative is so important. The good it has done. And why we support its full renewal.
Looking back at the outset of the conflict last year, a spike in food prices threatened to send tens of millions into extreme poverty around the world.
Within a week, prices of wheat futures had jumped almost 60%.
As the global humanitarian system struggles to respond to the overwhelming need around the world, it is forced to contend with the further strain of these price rises.
All of this taking place against the backdrop of an already stressed post-pandemic global economy.
But there is cause for some hope.
The impact on global markets has been cushioned by the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
The UN estimates that the reduction of prices for staple foods, as a result of the BSGI, has indirectly prevented some 100 million people from falling into extreme poverty.
24 million tonnes of grain and over 1,600 secure vessel voyages have made it through the Black Sea thanks to the agreement. And 55% of these food exports are going to developing countries.
These movements represent more than simply the grain being shipped.
Injecting more food into the global market brings down food prices. And so even though exports may not be going only to the poorest countries, they are benefiting global market prices positively for all, and they need to be preserved.
As such, we strongly support the Secretary-General’s and Türkiye’s continued engagement with Russia and Ukraine to ensure its full renewal and address any issues that impede its implementation.
We also note that relevant international humanitarian law obligations regarding civilian vessels remain in force, even if the BSGI lapses.
The UAE urges the full implementation of the MoU on Russian fertilisers and food products also. We encourage good faith efforts to address any ongoing issues related to insurance, financial, and logistical infrastructure.
And we stand ready to support this in any way.
Yet even if implemented in full, the contagion effect of war will continue to affect agriculture.
Blackouts across Ukraine, financial constraints for Ukraine’s farmers, and once fertile land that now sits fallow all contribute to a new, more difficult reality for food production.
In 2021, Ukraine saw record levels of grain harvested.
Within just one year, that was estimated to drop more than 40%.
And areas available to grow corn have fallen by 30% since the outset of war.
Energy’s another area that has been thrown into turmoil as a result of the ripple effects of this conflict. The UAE remains committed to working with the international community on this and to be a responsible partner.
Even though the negative impacts of the war extend far beyond this conflict, they cannot compare to the dismal humanitarian situation on the ground.
The impact on children in Ukraine alone is horrifying.
Every day this conflict goes on, more children are exposed to the risk of injury and death.
We underline the absolute importance of the protection of children in armed conflict as an irrefutable obligation.
The UAE is now working on the delivery of a 100-million-dollar assistance package to ease the suffering on the ground.
But as we have said before in this chamber, another year of this conflict will mean another year of lives lost, of communities destroyed, and of global division.
Now firmly in its second year, the war is no longer a tragedy of a time and place, but risks becoming a protracted, immutable conflict with no end in sight.
The continued pursuit of a complete military victory is a barrier to securing a just and lasting peace.
We welcome efforts by China amongst others to try to bring the two sides together for mediated talks.
This Council must work to find solutions to the ongoing conflict, and we all need to maintain our focus on resolving other conflicts in countries and regions that also remain in dire need. And work together as a Council on those contexts as well in the coming period.
The ravages of war are giving rise to a humanitarian crisis both within and beyond Ukraine’s borders. And so we share a universal, clear, and urgent interest in bringing this war to a peaceful, just, and enduring end.
Thank you, Mr. President.