United Nations: Voicing concern over the deterioration of global food security exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, India and Sweden have welcomed the extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative that facilitates the safe navigation of export of grain, foodstuffs and fertilizers from the war-torn country.
India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador R Ravindra, delivering a joint statement on behalf of India and Sweden in the UN General Assembly on Strengthening the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations, including special economic assistance’, said that “Sweden and India remain particularly concerned by the deterioration of global food security which has been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.”
He said India and Sweden fully support the Black Sea Grain Initiative and welcome its extension by 120 days, as announced on November 17, which means that the export of Ukrainian grain, foodstuffs and fertilizer can continue from the Black Sea ports.
The UN-brokered deal that allowed food exports from Ukraine amid the ongoing conflict was set to expire on November 19 but was extended. More than 11.1 million tonnes of essential foodstuffs have been shipped as part of the agreement involving Turkiye, Ukraine, Russia and the United Nations, since it was signed on July 22.
Ravindra said on Tuesday that in order to help low-income countries fight against price rise and shortage of foodstuff, India has exported more than 1.8 million tonnes of wheat to countries in need, including to Afghanistan, Myanmar, Sudan, and Yemen.
To help support the delivery of grain from Ukraine to people facing acute hunger, Sweden has contributed about USD 50 million to allow for the delivery of wheat from Ukraine to Yemen, Somalia and Sudan, for humanitarian purposes.
“The humanitarian system makes a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable people every day. It provides assistance to the people that are suffering the most. And it saves lives in some of the worst places across the globe. But we must ensure that 2023 is not the year that breaks the system. This is a shared responsibility,” he said.
He added that the creativity and magnitude of “our response must match the unique nature of the challenge.”
The 2023 Global Humanitarian Overview calls for USD 51.5 billion to bring life-saving support to 230 million of the most vulnerable people.
“This is a formidable challenge for the entire international community, and one we cannot afford to downplay,” the joint statement said as India joined Sweden in calling on the delegations to adopt the humanitarian resolution by consensus.
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India and Swden also voiced concern over violence against humanitarian workers in situations of armed conflict.
“We strongly condemn all attacks and threats against humanitarian personnel. Member States must take all measures to ensure the protection of humanitarian personnel and actors, in accordance with international law. All humanitarian organizations must also strictly adhere to the policy of zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse, and ensure that the victims are provided adequate protection.”
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