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Africa: world leader in implementing a UNFC-based continental system for sustainable resource management

Africa leads the world in implementing a new system for management of resources Africa-wide. The new system, based on the United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC), will launch the continent on a path of social, environmental and economic progress.

In 2009, Africa inaugurated a grand vision, the Africa Mining Vision, that called for local solutions to uplift the minerals sector. For this to happen, it would be imperative to stem value erosion, strengthen value-addition and enhance connectivity to social objectives like education, health care and women empowerment.

However, implementation of such a transformative vision requires reliable tools, and Africa is introducing a new tool kit, the UNFC African Mineral and Energy Resources Classification and Management System (AMREC). Spearheaded by the African Union Commission, and with technical support from UNECE, the UNFC-AMREC is being designed as a unique continental system for sustainable management of the mineral and energy value-chain in Africa.

“The development of resources in Africa should not be based on blind copying of models from outside, however suitable or unsuitable they are,” noted Paul Msoma, Head, African Minerals Development Centre, African Union Commission. “UNFC is a flexible framework that will allow us to think globally while acting locally. In this manner, Africa can by-pass some of the unsustainable and inappropriate approaches and practices and leap-frog directly to innovative developmental models that can optimize benefits from the resources.”

UNFC-AMREC is being shaped as a common system, applicable to all fifty-four countries in Africa, with balances and checks for tackling the unique challenges of Africa. Driving innovation, moving towards zero harm/zero waste, strengthening associative cross-sector linkages and understanding the humanitarian issues are some of the critical facets of this system.

 “We want our resource management system to be best in the world,” stated Tunde Arisekola, a Director in the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency and Technical Coordinator, AU AMREC Working Group. “We base our standards on UNFC principles, which are unsurpassed on the fundamental aspects of holistic resource management and then link them to what is essential for Africa.”

Having excellent standards is one thing, but deploying them effectively and consistently is a challenge. UNFC and its expanded tool kit, the United Nations Resource Management System (UNRMS) which is under development, are being used in Africa for effective ground level adoption. Competent human resources are key to this and UNFC-AMREC has specific provisions for this too.

“The importance of sustainable resource management cannot be overstated,” observed Scott Foster, Director of UNECE’s Sustainable Energy Division. “As resources are the mainstay for attaining the Sustainable Development Goals, their sustainable management is a priority. We are pleased that the African Union Commission appreciates the value UNFC provides to Africa and our experts will continue to provide any needed technical support.”

Details of this ground-breaking initiative and the development of UNFC-AMREC, the continental system for Africa,  will be presented at the UNECE Resource Management Week 2019, 29 April – 3 May, Palais des Nations, Geneva.

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