UN lays out role for Ukraine grain shipments coordination center in Istanbul


The UN laid out on Friday the new tasks to be carried out by a joint coordination center to implement the just-signed deal to facilitate Ukraine grain and foodstuffs exports to global markets. 

The Istanbul-based center is being tasked with enabling “the safe transportation, by merchant ships, of commercial foodstuffs and fertilizer from three key Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea: Odesa, Chornomorsk, Yuzhny,” the UN said in a statement. The ports had previously been subjected to a blockade by Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

The center will now monitor the movement of commercial vessels “to ensure compliance” with the agreement, focusing on commercial grain and related food commodities only. It will also ensure on-site control and cargo monitoring of ships coming from Ukrainian ports, and reports on shipments facilitated by the agreement.

The center will not undertake tasks related to the facilitation of food exports from countries other than Ukraine, nor will it facilitate exports of containers of non-food items not covered by the agreement.

Ukraine is colloquially referred to as a global “breadbasket,” and is the fifth largest wheat exporter worldwide, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

UN officials warned in June of endangered world food security due to Russia’s war on Ukraine, saying it poses the threat of famine, destabilization, and mass migration worldwide as Russia blockades the Black Sea ports that normally send grain to the world.

Internationally praised for its mediator role, Türkiye coordinated with Moscow and Kyiv to open a corridor from the Ukrainian port city of Odesa to resume global grain shipments long halted due to Russia’s war on Ukraine, now in its fifth month.

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