Why “unified” reporting of the world’s energy and mineral resources is important
The world is consuming more and more energy and mineral resources every year, particularly those regions with rapidly growing economies. Meeting our increasing needs for energy fuels and minerals ideally should be accompanied by considerations for sustainable development.
The data on available energy and mineral resources in a country—for example, barrels of oil or tons of coal, rock, or metals— typically are reported to national and other jurisdictions, usually as a mandatory requirement. These data are essential in the development of national and international policies, such as resource-management strategies, trade policies, industrial planning, and capital allocation.
A wide variety of reporting systems by different countries exists due to differences in national requirements. Thus, a wide range of resource classification schemes, public reporting requirements, and accounting rules are used throughout the world.
UNECE has been supporting a multinational effort to create a generic system for classifying and reporting energy and mineral resources. The result of this work is the United Nations Framework Classification for Fossil Energy and Mineral Reserves and Resources 2009 (UNFC).
The UNFC is the only scheme that allows classification and reporting of all forms of energy and mineral types in a unified format. Being a single, universally acceptable, and internationally applicable classification scheme, UNFC provides a standardized tool and framework that allows for international resource comparison.
As with any classification scheme, particularly in its early stages, UNFC will require periodic examination, adjustment, and adaption, especially due to technology advancements. Resource specialists from a wide range of countries have made well-thought-out recommendations for UNFC, which will require modest revisions. The specialists (volunteers) who developed and refined UNFC will evaluate and address these suggestions.
The framework classification of UNFC provides a platform and form of international language for communicating a wide range of energy and mineral resource information across international political and economic boundaries. Who better than the United Nations to develop a common language?
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Opinions expressed in this section are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position of UNECE, of the bodies established under its international legal agreements/conventions, or of the secretariat.