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Workshop on Implementing the United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC) in Southeast Europe

04 - 05 July 2024
Belgrade Serbia

The European Union stands at a pivotal moment in its commitment to environmental sustainability, social prosperity, and economic growth, spurred by global initiatives such as the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals of Agenda 2030. The transition towards a green and digital economy demands a significant influx of Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) for the development of environmentally sound technologies, which are vital for this transition. Recognizing the imperative to secure stable and resilient supply chains for these CRMs, the EU has introduced the European Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA). This EU legislation aims to minimize risks associated with CRMs sourcing through its established benchmarks set for 2030. Central to this initiative is the amplification of domestic CRMs production from extraction, processing, and recycling to meet EU demand.

In this context, informed decision-making and policy formulation are paramount for safeguarding CRMs' supply chains and ensuring the EU's sustainability goals are met. The adoption of the United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC) is a pivotal tool for this endeavor. UNFC provides a comprehensive framework for classifying raw material projects based on environmental-socio-economic factors, technical maturity, and confidence in product estimates. Furthermore, UNFC offers a means to harmonize raw materials data across the EU, with the objective to facilitate informed and sustainable decision-making and cross-country, as well as cross-resource, comparability.

To fully leverage the benefits of UNFC, particularly in Southeast European countries, capacity-building efforts are essential. Training stakeholders on the fundamentals of UNFC, its application, and integration into national reporting systems is crucial for aligning the countries with EU standards and fostering sustainable growth in their raw materials sector.

In line with this background, UNECE, in collaboration with Geological Survey of Serbia, Ministry of Mining and Energy of Serbia, DG GROW, and the Geological Service for Europe (GSEU) Horizon Europe Project, is organizing a one and half day workshop to support the implementation of UNFC in Southeast Europe in Belgrade on 4–5 July, 2024. The outcome of this workshop will ultimately lead to mapping National Minerals Inventories into UNFC, rendering them suitable and compatible at the EU-scale.