Could Romania prevent Europe from a food crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine? Apparently, the answer would be positive, according to the statements of the Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs within the UN.
Minister Bogdan Aurescu took part in the open debate of the UN Security Council (UN Security Council) on “Maintaining international peace and security – conflict and food security” on Thursday, May 19, 2022, at the invitation of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, at the UN headquarters in New York, organized by the USA, the country holding the UN Security Council presidency for the current month.
At the meeting, Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu told the UN Security Council in New York that more than 240,000 tons of grain from Ukraine have been exported through the port of Constanta, the largest port on the Black Sea since the conflict began.
The US-sponsored UN debate focused on ways to consolidate and streamline international efforts to reduce the impact of the global food crisis on international peace and security, which is exacerbated by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
Minister Aurescu reaffirmed Romania’s solidarity with the Ukrainian people and presented the humanitarian assistance provided by Romania to Ukrainian refugees, mentioning the humanitarian hub in Suceava county, which has been operational since March. The Minister emphasized that Romania has facilitated the provision of international assistance to the neighbouring country, including by expediting the World Food Program‘s request to establish a temporary presence in Romania to provide service to Ukrainian refugees.
In his speech, Minister Bogdan Aurescu emphasized the complex implications of Russia’s military conflict, including the impact on food security for many states in various parts of the world. He also emphasized the link between food insecurity, exacerbated by rising global food prices, and social unrest, posing threats to international peace and security. He also underlined the importance of addressing food insecurity as a priority and the link between ensuring the flow of food systems and progress in climate protection, development financing, and other preferences included in the Sustainable Development Goals.
Can Romania save Europe from a food crisis?
The head of Romanian diplomacy stated that the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine has severely impacted the grain market, given that the two countries are major players in global trade in this sector.
Minister Bogdan Aurescu reiterated that Romania is one of the best-positioned countries to serve as a transit and export hub for Ukrainian cereals. In this context, Minister Bogdan Aurescu reaffirmed the call for a broader international effort to build a transport corridor, including maritime, involving Romanian routes and ports, to facilitate Ukrainian exports to third countries.
The head of Romanian diplomacy also announced that Romania will host a World Meteorological Organization-approved Regional Center for Agrometeorology for Europe beginning in 2023. It will be critical in assisting with climate change adaptation.
At the same time, Minister Bogdan Aurescu categorically denied the completely unfounded accusations made by the Russian Federation’s representative during the debate that Ukraine had an “agreement” to export grain to the West in exchange for military assistance. The head of Romanian diplomacy noted that this is not the Russian Federation’s first attempt to spread such utterly false information. Romanian authorities quickly reject it as false and manipulative.
Food insecurity is a common occurrence that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, conflict, and the effects of climate change. According to official estimates, the number of people affected by this phenomenon reached 161 million in 2019, with 44 million people in 38 states on the verge of starvation. At the same time, experts estimate that Russia’s war in Ukraine will push nearly 40 million more people to the brink of poverty and hunger by the end of 2022.