The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 3 November 2023.
Justin Addison (UK Delegation to the OSCE) tells the OSCE’s Economic and Environmental Committee that Russia’s decision to withdraw from the Black Sea Grain Initiative and systematic attacks on grain infrastructure has worsened food insecurity.
The effects on global food supply of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, along with climate change, conflict, and the long-term impacts of Covid-19, are the main drivers of current food insecurity.
Russia’s decision to withdraw from the Black Sea Grain Initiative has reduced global grain supply at a critical time for vulnerable people around the world, and contributed to further market volatility. Russia has also systematically attacked Ukrainian civilian grain and port infrastructure, clearly intending to degrade Ukraine’s ability to export food to the world.
Russia’s actions will take time to remedy, causing long-standing damage to the Ukrainian agricultural sector, which has played such a pivotal part in global food supply.
To provide a reset moment on the global food security crisis, on the 20th of November the UK will host a global food security summit, gathering governments, international organisations, scientists, NGOs and the private sector.
The summit will focus on new approaches to tackling preventable deaths of children; building a climate-resilient and sustainable food system; supporting early action to prevent and reduce the impact of humanitarian crises; and using science and technology to boost food security.
Mr Chair, while Russia seeks to destroy the trade links that provide the world with food, the development of the Middle Corridor offers a promising route for future trade and transport. The diversification and expansion of trade routes in Central Asian countries in particular not only brings economic growth to the wider OSCE region, but also has potential to improve global supply chains and energy security. Investment in infrastructure could promote the creation of industrial clusters and service centres, leading to new avenues for revenue and employment.
The UK welcomes the strong political support from the Azerbaijani and Georgian governments, as well as coordination with Türkiye and countries in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Further expansion and operation of the Corridor could create opportunities in the fields of port operations, logistics, rule standardisation and insurance. We also see how international cooperation on projects such as this can have a direct security benefit, and we join the calls of others to make the coordination groups as inclusive as possible.
The UK stands by to offer political support, encourage investment, and explore ways for British exporters to use the Corridor, wherever we can. Thank you.