Memorandum of Understanding

Memorandum of Understanding between the UN and the Russian Federation

The war in Ukraine sent shock waves throughout the global economy, in particular through trade disruptions of food and fertilizers from two of the world’s main breadbaskets, Ukraine and the Russian Federation. This left millions of people in developing and least developed countries at the frontline of a food and price crisis.

The United Nations Secretary-General has established a Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance in the UN Secretariat.

The Group’s work on the food aspect of the global crisis helped lead to the signing of two agreements in July 2022 in Istanbul.

One is the Black Sea Initiative, signed by the Russian Federation, Türkiye, Ukraine, and witnessed by the UN to allow the safe export of grain, fertilizers and other foodstuff from Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea.

The other agreement is the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Russian Federation and the Secretariat of the United Nations on facilitating unimpeded access of food and fertilizer products originating in the Russian Federation to global markets.

The continuation and effective implementation of both agreements are vital for global food security. The United Nations remains committed to both agreements and to remove all remaining impediments that constrain access of food and fertilizers from the Russian Federation and Ukraine to global markets.

UN Task Team

The United Nations has established a dedicated Task Team hosted at UNCTAD (UN Task Team) to follow up on the implementation of the MoU.

To ease the global food crisis, it is important to urgently address the global fertilizer market crunch. The United Nations already has reports of farmers cultivating fewer crops because of the high price or lack of availability of fertilizers. Without action in 2022, the global fertilizer shortage could quickly morph into a global food shortage next year.

The current sanctions regimes include exemptions related to food and fertilizer trade from the Russian Federation to ensure global food security, and recently the U.S., EU and UK sanctions authorities have issued important policy clarifications to realize this commitment.

The UN Task Team is working closely with relevant authorities to further clarify and fully realize the food and fertilizer exemptions more effectively with the ultimate goal of reducing food and fertilizer prices, reducing transaction costs, stabilizing markets and enhancing global food security.

Please see below a list of key sanctions guidance:

March 2022

April 2022

June 2022

July 2022

September 2022

  • EU FAQ clarifications on "Import, purchase and transfer of listed goods" (194-198) and "Trade in agricultural and related products from Russia" (pp. 247-254) in Consolidated FAQ 

November 2022

December 2022

January 2023

March 2023

  • 8: EU FAQ clarifications on Russian Maritime Registry of Shipping (pp. 285-287) in Consolidated FAQ 

April 2023

May 2023

June 2023