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Schweiz: WCC calls for Russia to restore Black Sea grain deal

24. August 2023

Today, as 247 million people are facing stress concerning food security, and 24 million people are either on the brink of famine or facing famine, the Russian Federation withdrawing from the Black Sea Grain initiative is catastrophic for global food security. 

Five hundred and twenty-six days into the Russia-Ukraine war, this profoundly damaging conflict is negatively affecting global food security and agriculture. From a situation before the onset of the war, when both countries combined supplied 30% of the global supplies of wheat, 20% of corn, 70% of sunflower oil, and Russia produced about 25% of the world's nitrogen fertiliser, this war has made food more expensive and unaffordable to the poorest in different parts of the world. The ongoing destruction of dams, bridges, infrastructure, storage silos and ports, and the damage caused by flooding of agricultural lands all add to the long-term degradation of the region's capability to be a vital source of food and livelihood for the people in the area and the world. We reiterate our plea for the immediate cessation of the conflict, to bring back unity, peace, reconciliation and justice to the region.

It is vital that Russia reverses its decision to abandon the Black Sea Grain Initiative to allow safe exports of grain and fertiliser from Ukrainian ports to global markets despite the ongoing war. The 33 million tonnes of grain that left Ukraine's ports in the year to July contributed to most of the supplies acquired by the World Food Programme and reduced global food prices. Restoring the Initiative will reduce food prices and inflation, and prevent food shortages and humanitarian crises in many regions. It will also be a positive step to ease the tensions and mistrust between Russia and Ukraine and foster dialogue and cooperation.

Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay

General Secretary

World Council of Churches (Quelle:, 4. August 2023)