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UN Framework Classification for Resources helps Southeast Europe strengthen critical materials supply chains

Belgrade UNFC workshop

As Europe advances towards a green and digital economy, the demand for Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) - such as lithium, nickel, rare earth elements and cobalt - is surging.  The European Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA) aims to secure stable and resilient CRM supply chains by setting benchmarks for 2030. Central to this initiative is enhancing domestic CRM production through extraction, processing, and recycling. 

Effective decision-making and policy formulation are crucial for safeguarding these supply chains and achieving related sustainability goals. The United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC), developed at UNECE, supports these efforts by providing a harmonized framework for classifying raw material projects based on environmental, socio-economic factors, technical maturity, and confidence in product estimates.  

To support UNFC implementation in Southeast Europe, UNECE, in collaboration with the Ministry of Mining and Energy of Serbia, the Geological Survey of Serbia, DG GROW of the European Commission, and the Horizon Europe Project “Geological Service for Europe (GSEU),” organized a workshop in Belgrade. 

Representatives from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Romania, and Serbia gained a thorough understanding of the European raw materials landscape and the role of UNFC. The workshop emphasized the importance of informed decision-making and policy formulation in securing resilient CRM supply chains. Detailed presentations on UNFC National Guidance documents and National Raw Materials Inventories provided practical insights into UNFC application and integration into national systems. Discussions further focused on bridging and mapping from National and International Reporting Systems to UNFC, ensuring seamless data harmonization and comparability across borders. 

The workshop concluded with several key recommendations for successfully implementing UNFC in Southeast Europe. These efforts aim to align the region with EU standards, contributing to environmental sustainability and economic growth.  

UNECE will continue to support sustainable resource management and carbon neutrality in the UNECE region and beyond. 

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