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Towards a new language for sustainable natural resource management

Rising population and increasing urbanization will have a massive global impact on the demand for energy and raw materials. Many countries will increasingly look to secure sustainable supplies of energy and minerals by proactively developing their domestic resource base where available. Countries without indigenous resources will rely on the international markets for uninterrupted supplies. Significant investments in the development of local as well as overseas energy and minerals projects are therefore foreseen in the future.

Transparent and coherent estimation and reporting of resources, with adherence to an international standard, is not only desirable but critical for assurance of energy and material supplies over the long-term. While channelling capital investments to regions where they are required in the most efficient manner, satisfying social and environmental concerns is a factor that is assuming greater importance today. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), one of the key requirements in every country will be to ensure that these investments bring positive outcomes for society and not just economic returns.

Given the above imperatives, UNECE and the European Federation of Geologists (EFG) have partnered on the organization of a conference on “International cooperation on natural resources: geoscientists’ contribution to enhanced governance, policy making and attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals”, in Brussels, 9-10 February. A key goal of the event is to advance the wider adoption of the United Nations Framework Classification (UNFC), a unified management system for energy resources, including renewable energy, and raw materials. UNFC provides a single framework to build global energy and mineral studies, analyze government policies, plan industrial processes and allocate capital efficiently. The conference has the support of many professional bodies, international organizations and the industry. 

Over 100 policymakers, international energy experts, national government officials, academics, energy and minerals company executives, as well as finance, industry and environment experts attending the conference will discuss the use of UNFC for sustainable management of energy and mineral resources. Use of a universal classification standard for energy resources will contribute to more reliable resource estimates, data comparability and consistency at a range of scales. Better global governance of all energy and raw material resources will also be ensured.

UNFC, as a tool for resource management, will result in better maintenance of national inventories, aid internal company resource management, reduce risks, and create opportunities at financial market levels. With due considerations for social and environmental aspects incorporated, UNFC has become the only global standard that can provide a platform for the multi-faceted development of all energy and raw material resources. This conference will thus seek to provide a platform for promoting international cooperation between policymakers, investors and operators by providing a new language for communication. 

For further information about UNECE, UNFC and EFG, please consult the respective websites: http://www.unece.org, http://www.unece.org/energy/se/reserves.html and http://eurogeologists.eu/.

Details of the conference are available at: http://www.unece.org/index.php?id=45090#/.