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UNECE helps improve data integration for sustainable energy and water resource management in South-East Europe and Central Asia

Energy and water resources are integrally related and strongly interdependent. Facilitating their integrated management and monitoring can therefore offer an important foundation for sustainable development. The United Nations Framework Classification of Resources (UNFC), developed at UNECE, can support this process by enabling harmonized data and information on energy and water resources.

UNFC is a global management system for mineral, petroleum, renewable energy, anthropogenic and water resources. Application of UNFC facilitates comprehensive resource recovery and helps to ensure full consideration of associated technical, social, environmental, and economic challenges and opportunities. The use of UNFC is mandatory in the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) Central Framework for energy accounts, which is applied globally.

Thanks to UNFC, consistent, coherent and reliable data can provide the basis for informed and more transparent planning and management of energy and water resources.

The UNECE project “Integrated energy and water resource management in support of sustainable development in South-East Europe and Central Asia” started in 2018, with the participation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Serbia. A recent training course on “Data collection related to sustainable energy and water resources management and monitoring and UNFC application”, held in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan on 19-21 June, was attended by more than 50 mineral, petroleum, renewable energy and water experts from the four project beneficiary countries. The training course was led by international expert Robert Smith, Canada, UNECE experts, and national consultants.

“Balancing food-water-energy supply and use have deeper implications than usually appreciated,” said Viktor Badaker, Project Manager and Economic Affairs Officer, UNECE. “Even a slight imbalance in one aspect of this essential triangle can have strong unintended implications to society and the environment. Hence, having correct data on energy and water supply is of paramount importance.”

“An integrated system such as UNFC to provide harmonized data on energy and water statistics will be helpful to all countries,” said Georgiy Freiman, Chairman of the Professional Society of Independent Experts of the Subsurface Resources (PONEN), Kazakhstan. “Technical issues are not the sole concern; countries want to integrate all sustainable development information, which is not possible using any other existing system.”

UNFC has built-in guidance for the management of social and environmental aspects throughout the cycle of natural resource development. Best practices promoted by UNFC delve into approaches that can help to transform challenges into opportunities.

“Industry is not lacking in good and innovative ideas; it is in the implementation where the challenges lie” remarked Scott Foster, Director, Sustainable Energy Division, UNECE. “We need to build an army of competent persons to ensure proper implementation, which is what we work to achieve through training courses such as this one.”

For more information on UNFC, please visit: https://www.unece.org/energy/se/reserves.html

This work is complemented by UNECE’s “nexus” assessments, which have helped 20 countries in 7 shared basins to sustainably address the interconnected objectives of water management, energy and environmental protection.

UNECE also helps to build countries’ capacities to improve statistics for the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA).