Live updates: UN General Assembly 2022

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres displays images of a cargo ship of Ukrainian grain as he addresses the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York City on September 20. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

In remarks at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, UN chief António Guterres used the description of a ship that transported Ukrainian grain to Africa as a “symbol of what the world can accomplish when we act together.”

“It navigated through a war zone — guided by the very parties to the conflict — as part of an unprecedented comprehensive initiative to get more food and fertilizer out of Ukraine and Russia,” he said.

At the end of August, after 14 days at sea, a shipment of 23,000 metric tons of wheat arrived on the MV Brave Commander in the Horn of Africa to support the United Nations World Food Programme. After Russia blocked Ukrainian Black Sea ports, the UN and Turkey helped broker a deal to get grain out of Ukraine.

“Some might call it a miracle on the sea. In truth, it is multilateral diplomacy in action,” Guterres added.

“The Black Sea Grain Initiative has opened the pathway for the safe navigation of dozens of ships filled with much needed food supplies. But each ship is also carrying one of today’s rarest commodities: Hope,” he said.

But besides hope, action is needed is stabilize the world’s fertilizer market, Guterres said.

“It is essential to continue removing all remaining obstacles to the export of Russian fertilizers and their ingredients, including ammonia. These products are not subject to sanctions – and we are making progress in eliminating indirect effects,” he said.

“Without action now, the global fertilizer shortage will quickly morph into a global food shortage,” he warned.

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