Washington, 23 June 2023 (TDI):  In a recent meeting between US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Secretary Blinken raised significant concerns over Russia’s decision not to renew the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI). Both leaders acknowledged the vital role of this initiative in ensuring global food security and recognized its far-reaching impact on the development of nations worldwide.


During the discussions, Secretary Blinken conveyed his profound apprehension regarding Russia’s discontinuation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

Recognizing the critical importance of agricultural cooperation, he emphasized the potential consequences this decision may have on global food security, particularly for developing countries heavily reliant on grain exports from the Black Sea region.

Secretary Blinken and Secretary-General Guterres concurred on the fundamental significance of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which has been instrumental in fostering collaboration and promoting stability in the agricultural sector.

They underscored the interdependence between nations in addressing the pressing challenges of food production, distribution, and access to ensure the well-being of people worldwide.

As global leaders committed to advancing sustainable development and safeguarding nations’ interests, Secretary Blinken and Secretary-General Guterres expressed their shared commitment to promoting dialogue and seeking constructive solutions to address this issue.

They stressed the importance of continued engagement with Russia to reconsider their decision and to preserve the positive impact of the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI)

During the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, a vital initiative known as the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI) was introduced to facilitate the transportation of Ukrainian exports to countries in need. These exports primarily consist of commercial food and fertilizers, and their distribution is facilitated through three Ukrainian ports located on the Black Sea: Chornomorsk, Odesa, and Pivdennyi.

The Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) has been set up to oversee the Initiative’s execution. Officials from Russia, Ukraine, Turkiye, and the UN convene at the Joint Coordination Centre in Istanbul. The UN also serves as the Centre’s Secretariat.

Ukrainian ships are leading cargo ships into the Black Sea waterways. These ships are also traveling to Istanbul via the agreed-upon maritime humanitarian corridor.  Russian, Turkish, Ukrainian, and UN inspectors have been included in the JCC teams to check ships traveling to and from Ukrainian ports

the Secretary-General talked with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy  and Russian President Vladimir Putin in April 2022, to present the idea

In parallel with the talks, two UN Task Forces are established:  the first carry Ukrainian grain exports through the Sea, which the UN humanitarian affairs chief, Martin Griffiths, leads. The second one exists for Russian fertilizer and food, which the UN Secretary for Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Rebecca Grynspan, leads.