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United Nations Framework Classification for Resources Guidance for Europe gains expert approval

UNFC Guidance Europe

Guidance for the Application of the United Nations Framework Classification (UNFC) for Mineral and Anthropogenic Resources in Europe (UNFC Guidance Europe) was approved by international experts meeting in Geneva and online for the 13th session of the Expert Group on Resource Management. The Guidance supports authorities in establishing and maintaining an inventory of primary and secondary raw materials projects in Europe, further facilitating decision-making by national governments, regional authorities, geological surveys, corporations and academics. 

UNFC Guidance Europe, developed by the UNECE Expert Group on Resource Management, will assist regional and national authorities in establishing and maintaining an inventory of European primary and secondary raw materials projects. 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 United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC) is the first widely accepted natural resource management system for classifying and reporting natural resources globally. “The Guidance document is a significant step forward to support robust, data-driven decisions within the existing UN framework for the management of natural resources, including critical raw materials”, said Dario Liguti, Director of the Sustainable Energy Division at UNECE. 

The Guidance for the Application of the United Nations Framework Classification (UNFC) for Mineral and Anthropogenic Resources in Europe will help to provide reliable information on reserves and resources. It could affect policy decisions related to European raw material stocks and flows. The Guidance aims to facilitate European and national resource management and implement sustainable resource management policies and regulations.  

The UNFC-based inventory of resources will facilitate decision-making by stakeholders related to raw material stocks and flows in Europe. Reliable and relevant information is critical for public-sector decision-making ranging from the onsite, municipality, regional, country, European and the UN level on aspects of the resource life cycle. In addition, it will enhance economic and financial investment decision-making considering economic, environmental, and social aspects of raw material projects.  

At the Expert Group session, resource management and financial experts called for the integration of UNFC with the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), the International Financial Reporting Foundation’s International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) and the EU Taxonomy to strengthen relations with investors and lenders supporting the Paris Agreement and the Sustainability Development Goals. 

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 (DG GROW), 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”. 

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 policy brief. 

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