The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) welcomes comments to support the implementation of a universally applicable scheme for the sustainable management of all energy and mineral resources.
Draft Guidance for the Application of the United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC) for Mineral and Anthropogenic Resources in Europe has been issued today for a 90-day comment period ending on 6 June.
UNFC is the first widely accepted natural resource management system for classifying, managing, and reporting natural resources in the world. “UNFC is expected to be embraced by countries, regions, and industry to harmonize resource management at an international level. Therefore, it is vital for stakeholders and citizens alike to express views on the proposals and contribute to the policymaking process towards the United Nations’ Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals”, said Scott Foster, Director of the Sustainable Energy Division at UNECE.
The Guidance, developed by the UNECE Expert Group on Resource Management, will assist regional and national authorities to establish and maintain an inventory of primary and secondary raw materials projects in Europe. The mineral and anthropogenic resource inventory based on an agreed UN framework will ensure harmonized decision-making on technical feasibility, socio-environmental concerns, and the commercial potential of raw material projects.
The inventory will provide reliable information on reserves and resources and hence could affect policy decisions related to raw material stocks and flows in Europe. The Guidance aims to facilitate European and national resource management and implementation of sustainable resource management policies and regulations. Peter Handley, Head of Energy Intensive Industries and Raw Materials Unit in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs observed “Raw materials are essential for the European Green Deal, and UNFC is an important tool to understand their availability and sustainability and to monitor their development over time”.
Industry is also expected to use the Guidance to adopt business processes that are sustainable, profitable, socially-inclusive, environmentally responsible, and resilient. Furthermore, the creation of harmonized reliable factual and science-based information on sustainable resource management of raw materials could also open new fields of research for academia and media alike and encourage community and citizen engagement with policy-making processes. In the future, the financial sector could utilize the framework to make investment decisions.
This Guidance is one of the first steps on the path to full implementation of UNFC in Europe. It is one of many global initiatives to Transform Extractive Industries for Sustainable Development as detailed in the UN Secretary-General's recently published policy brief. Further efforts to transform extractive industries into an engine for sustainable development will be explored at the upcoming UNECE Resource Management Week on 25-29 April in Geneva.
Submissions are welcome from across society and all comments will be made available to the public on the UNECE website upon submission. The implementation of the United Nations Framework Classification for Resources is made possible thanks to funding from the European Union.