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UNECE seeks public input on UNFC supplemental specifications for groundwater resources

UNECE seeks public input on UNFC supplemental specifications for groundwater resources

Groundwater resources UNFC

Groundwater, an invaluable source of freshwater, faces numerous challenges, including overexploitation, pollution, and insufficient data to assess groundwater quantity and quality. UNECE has opened a public consultation on the draft supplemental specifications for groundwater resources for the United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC), which aim to provide a common and consistent framework for assessing, classifying and reporting groundwater resources. The public consultation will run until 31 December 2023 and is open to all interested parties, including governments, industry, academia, civil society and the general public. 

Groundwater is a lifeline for countless people, particularly in rural areas, providing essential drinking water and supporting irrigation for agriculture. It is pivotal in maintaining ecosystems and sustaining wetlands, rivers, lakes, and springs. Furthermore, groundwater serves as a buffer against climate change impacts, offering resilience against droughts by ensuring a reliable water supply in times of scarcity. 

In addition, proper groundwater management contributes to socio-economic development by generating employment, reducing poverty, enhancing food security, and improving public health and overall well-being. Unfortunately, groundwater often remains poorly understood, undervalued, mismanaged, and abused. 

“Proper groundwater management is vital for sustainability,” noted Dario Liguti, Director of the UNECE Sustainable Energy Division. “UNFC's draft supplemental specifications aim to address this by providing a framework for assessing, classifying, and reporting groundwater resources. I encourage all interested stakeholders to review them carefully to ensure they are fit for purpose.” 

UNFC can also improve governance and support Sustainable Development Goals by providing holistic guidance on groundwater management. The draft introduces a sub-category of "socially necessary" projects and provides guidance on assessment and classification, promoting sustainable development. 

The draft UNFC supplemental specifications for groundwater resources build upon existing UNFC principles and generic specifications. These specifications have been developed by the dedicated Working Group on Groundwater Resources under the UNECE Expert Group on Resource Management (EGRM), with contributions from experts and stakeholders worldwide. 

UNECE invites all interested parties to review the draft document and provide comments and suggestions by 31 December 2023. The Working Group and EGRM will finalize the document, taking into account the feedback received, with the aim of presenting it for approval at the EGRM annual meeting on 22-26 April 2024 during the UNECE Resource Management Week 2024.  


United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

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