Secretary-General António Guterres (left) and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the signing ceremony of Black Sea Grain Initiative in Istanbul, Türkiye.
Photo:UNIC Ankara/Levent Kulu
Beacon on the Black Sea
The resumption of Ukrainian grain exports via the Black Sea amid the ongoing war is “a beacon of hope” in a world that desperately needs it, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said at the signing ceremony on 27 July in Istanbul, Türkiye.
The UN plan, which is linked to efforts to ensure Russian food and fertilizer reach global markets, supports the stabilization of spiralling food prices worldwide and stave off famine, affecting millions.
The Initiative specifically allows for commercial food and fertilizer (including ammonia) exports from three key Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea – Odesa, Chornomorsk, Yuzhny/Pivdennyi.
The Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) was established to monitor the implementation of the Initiative. The Joint Coordination Centre is hosted in Istanbul and includes representatives from Russia, Türkiye, Ukraine and the United Nations. The UN acts also as the Secretariat for the Centre.
Ukrainian vessels guide cargo ships into international waters of the Black Sea, avoiding mined areas. The vessels then proceed towards Istanbul along the agreed maritime humanitarian corridor. Ships heading to and from the Ukrainian ports are inspected by JCC teams comprised of Russian, Turkish, Ukrainian and UN inspectors.
In April 2022, the Secretary-General met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to propose the plan.
Two UN Task Forces were established in parallel on the talks - one focused on the shipment of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea, which was led by UN humanitarian affairs chief and head of OCHA Martin Griffiths, and the other on facilitating exports of Russian food and fertilizers, headed by Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General of the UN trade and development body, UNCTAD.