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United Nations Framework Classification for Resources and United Nations Resource Management System 

Frequently Asked Questions 

This page will continue to evolve and highlight developments on the United Nations Framework Classification for Resources and the United Nations Resource Management System. Email your questions and suggestions to [email protected] 

What is Sustainable Resources Management? 

Sustainable resource management is defined as the total of policies, strategies, regulations investments, operations and capabilities within the framework of public, public-private and civil society partnerships required for the responsible utilization of natural resources. It is based on environmental-socio-economic viability and technical feasibility, which determine what, when and how natural resources such as minerals, oil & gas, renewable energy, geological storage, anthropogenic resources, nuclear fuel resources and groundwater are developed, produced, consumed, reused and recycled by society. 

The process of sustainable resource management starts from an understanding of the world’s natural capital and natural resources, including the efforts required to refine and use (and reuse) them, and how this relates to societal needs. 

UNECE’s work on Sustainable Resource Management  

What is the United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC)? 

UNFC is a globally accepted system for classifying and reporting natural resources. UNFC fully integrates social and environmental considerations and the technology readiness required to bring clean and affordable energy resource projects into the market. 

More about UNFC 

What is UNRMS?

UNRMS is a global voluntary resource management system that can be used by governments, industries, investors, and civil society. It is an integrated resource management framework for resources to support the development of policies and regulations in the sustainable management and advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The United Nations Framework Classification for Resources works in conjunction with the United Nations Resource Management System (UNRMS). UNECE regularly provides training to policymakers around the world.   

More about UNRMS

Who can use UNFC and UNRMS?

UNFC and UNRMS is for everyone. It provides countries, companies, financial institutions, and other stakeholders with a tool for the sustainable development of energy and mineral resource endowments. 

At present, more than 30 countries use UNFC. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) supports countries in developing and implementing UNFC. UNFC is flexible and adaptable to diverse national and regional requirements. UNRMS is currently a voluntary global standard being applied by various stakeholders in sustainable resource management. 

Case Studies on UNFC

When should UNFC and UNRMS be implemented?

UNFC and UNRMS can be adopted immediately by stakeholders, including countries and companies.  

It’s now or never if we want to limit global warming to 1.5°C. UNFC and UNRMS are vital for all stakeholders to ensure sustainable energy and raw materials production. A green transition will require various critical raw materials with regulations in raw material exploration, mining, and processing to enhance global material value chains and attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  

Partners with Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs)

Where can UNFC and UNRMS be implemented?

UNFC combines all resources such as energy, minerals and groundwater into one global classification system. UNFC applies to energy resources, including renewable energy, oil and gas, nuclear fuels, minerals, injection projects for the geological storage of CO2, groundwater, and anthropogenic resources such as secondary resources recycled from residues and wastes. UNRMS is a complementary tool to work in conjunction with UNFC as a unifying framework for the integrated management of resources.   

Applications of UNFC

Why are UNFC and UNRMS necessary?

UNFC provides clear and consistent specifications, guidelines, and best practices for all energy and mineral sectors, which are particularly important for managing expanding demand for bioenergy, geothermal energy, solar energy, wind energy, and hydropower resources.  

In the future, UNFC and UNRMS can be used by financial institutions and industry to evaluate viable projects as part of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)-focused investing. Together, they are necessary globally acceptable tools for making natural resource use sustainable and balanced for broader stakeholder uptake.  

Commercial Applications of UNFC

How can UNFC and UNRMS support sustainable development and climate action?

Social and environmental factors have rarely been considered in the classification of natural resources. UNFC and UNRMS are tools for effective management of national resource endowments needed for realizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UNFC aims to provide necessary specifications and guidelines for optimizing the management and development of resources, with positive impacts on the society, environment, local economies and employment.

UNFC and Social and Environmental Management

Are UNFC and UNRMS mandatory UN standards?

UNFC is a voluntary system used by countries, companies or individuals for sustainable energy and mineral resources classification and reporting. In 2019, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC): 

  • recommended UNFC to be disseminated widely, invited States Members of the United Nations, international organizations and the regional commissions to consider the possibility of taking appropriate measures to ensure the application of the updated Framework Classification in countries worldwide. 


Both UNFC and UNRMS are included in the recent policy brief titled ‘Transforming Extractive Industries for Sustainable Development’ by António Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General. UNECE’s Expert Group on Resource Management are part of the United Nations Working Group on Transforming the Extractive Industries for Sustainable Development. 

ECOSCO Decision on UNFC 2019

Working Group on Transforming the Extractive Industries for Sustainable Development [Link to follow]

How do I get involved? 

The UNECE Expert Group on Resource Management (EGRM) develops UNFC for global application. EGRM has over 300 active members representing international organizations, professional associations, governments, academia, industry, and civil society. Working groups and task forces work continuously to advise EGRM’s parent inter-governmental body, the UNECE Committee on Sustainable Energy. Volunteers can help develop UNFC case studies

Membership in EGRM is open to anyone interested in the sustainable management of resources. UN Publications on United Nations Framework Classification for Resources can also be ordered. Contact [email protected] to learn more. 

About the Expert Group on Resource Management