United Nations & Shanghai Cooperation Organisation To Facilitate Agricultural Trade
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) intend to facilitate trade in agri-food products between SCO member states. The aim is to look at new ways of facilitating cross-border trade, including the organization of green corridors, as well as the creation of cross-border wholesale distribution centres. SCO full members include China, Russia, India, Iran, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan and comprise the bulk of global grain production.
The cooperation comes after supply chains problems emerging from sanctions placed on Russia due to the Ukraine conflict and the closing of borders with Russia, which is also the world’s largest grain producer. Moscow has also criticized the EU for taking grain for itself that was subject to Russia and Turkish monitoring from Ukraine that under the shipping agreement was supposed to be sent to emerging countries in Africa. Apparently, Russia was told that these shipments would be sent to developing nations and especially countries in Africa, such as Egypt, which is reliant on grain for its stable component foods for much of its 100 million population. Other African nations are in a similar position. However, it turns out that according to Putin, of the 87 ships containing Ukrainian grain sent so far, only two have been sent to developing countries (Ethiopia and Yemen) – the rest went to the EU. The EU has replied by stating that Russia does not have the right to determine where Ukraine exports its products. The Russia-Turkiye-Ukraine agreement on Ukraine’s exports of grain ends at the end of October.
The war of words runs deep: The EU Commission recently ran an article suggesting that the SCO was a ‘rogue’ organisation while NATO has described it as a threat.
China and Russia say that the SCO is assisting emerging nations and that they wish to see the development of a fairer, unilateral world order as opposed to a unipolar order controlled for the benefit of the G7. The United Nations has observer status with the SCO.
FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Europe and Central Asia Vladimir Rakhmanin has said “We have a specific work plan until 2024. We have something to share with each other. Now, when the world is facing unprecedented challenges, cooperation, coordination of efforts, the desire and ability to listen to each other, and mutual respect are especially important.”