Ulises Neri
Vice Chair Mexico - Latin America
United Nations - United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
Expert Contributor

Int’l Centers of Excellence and Sustainable Resources Management

By Ulises Neri | Thu, 01/27/2022 - 13:01

Societies depend on the availability of various types of resources. The utilization of natural resources has been promoting and shaping overall development globally, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Production of raw materials in LAC countries has increased greatly in the last decade. In the coming decades, region-wide primary energy demand is expected to grow. Consequently, a sound paradigm rooted in sustainable resource management that will ensure a good social, environmental, and economic outcome is essential to the region. However, governments, companies and financial institutions face multiple challenges in the region. For any resource development project to proceed to implementation, many technical, economic, social, and environmental issues must be resolved. Even though the Latin America region is rich in resources, the current development pathways of many states are often in conflict with the expectations and aspirations of their societies. All over Latin America, there have been prevalent tensions between resource-oriented industries and the communities where they operate.

With the increase of foreign and national investments in resource development projects, some organizations have developed collaborative processes to address the issue. At the same time, certain social movements have formed formidable fronts of resistance that have proven capable of stopping the development of the targeted projects. Even in the field of renewable energy, despite the great potential that lies in Latin America, the construction of hydroelectric plants or solar energy projects has often been problematic, due to social and environmental impacts, in particular, the necessary displacement of the local communities. In most cases, the local community feels that the benefits from natural resources production and utilization are not being distributed equitably. They have a perception that land that has a sentimental or cultural value for them is being misused. Because of this lack of “social license to operate,” it becomes challenging to prevent conflict and to avoid further escalation once it arises. On the other hand, it becomes frustrating for investors to always face blockades that either postpone or inhibit the development of the project, even though the operations comply with all environmental and social regulations.

Successful resolution of these issues is essential for responsible development and use of resources and ensuring good social, environmental, and economic outcomes. For businesses in the oil and gas, mining, and other energy resources sectors, which mostly have long-term projects that will take years to develop, attention to classification and management of resources, taking into account social and environmental factors, will be leveraged to implement sustainable development. This will also help countries, companies and financial institutions to focus on projects that fit well with developmental strategies and avoid costly failures. Those projects that are not ready for development today could be subjected to more studies for possible actions, including the adoption of innovative technologies that are required to remove the challenges.

United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC)1 and the United Nations Resource Management System (UNRMS)2 – Tools to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda.

The United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC) and the United Nations Resource Management System (UNRMS) are frameworks developed by experts from government, industry, the financial sector, and academia to bring in the required rigor in the sustainable management of all resources. UNRMS is a globally applicable system that can be applied to petroleum, mineral, renewable energy, nuclear fuels, injection projects, and anthropogenic resource endowments. Rather than tracking a single metric of volumes or quantities that can be produced and the profits, UNRMS considers a range of socio-economic, technological, and knowledge factors that are important for the sustainable development of each project. The UNRMS guiding principle is to make resource management entirely in alignment with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and see how resource production can contribute to each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

To achieve each of the SDGs by 2030, it is crucial to promote the institutionalization of mechanisms that support Mexico and Latin America, making energy and raw material resource management a catalyst for sustainable development. UNRMS provides a unique model for transparent and coherent estimation, classification, management, production and utilization of resources, which are critical for assurance of the energy and raw material supplies required for sustainable development. 

International Centres of Excellence on Sustainable Resource Management-ICE-SRM -Mexico Latin America.

The International Centres of Excellence on Sustainable Resource Management-ICE-SRM3 will strengthen the sustainability and financial resilience of the resource management sectors. The focus will be on the development of a financially profitable, competitive, and resilient, resource management sector in the region as well as the core vision of “Resources for Sustainable Development.” The system will ensure actions that are required to promote acceptability among stockholders and stakeholders. Resource management, when undertaken through the UNRMS framework, will bring good social, environmental, and economic outcomes in Latin America, and in Mexico as the leader of the project.

UNRMS is being applied to continental frameworks in Europe and Africa, and national implementations are witnessed in many countries, such as China, India, Russia, and Ukraine. In 2019, a large-scale project (pilot project)4, led by the National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) in coordination with the Ministry of Energy (SENER) and the Safety, Energy and Environment Agency (ASEA), was implemented in Mexico.

International Centres of Excellence on Sustainable Resource Management (ICE-SRM) is a collaborative network of organizations focused on supporting the sustainable management of the resources needed for development in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Agreement. The centers are conceived to provide – in full compliance with the adopted United Nations standards and guidelines – policy support, technical advice and consultation, education, training, dissemination, and other critical activities for stakeholders involved in the sustainable development of extractive industries and energy.

Each center will promote within its activity footprint the global deployment of the United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC) and the United Nations Resource Management System (UNRMS) to describe the resources needed for the attainment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and support their management.

The center for Mexico and Latin America is led by Ulises Neri, a member of the Expert Group on Resource Management EGRM. 5 Neri studied petroleum engineering at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM, where he is also a professor), has a master's degree from the French Petroleum Institute, and doctoral studies at the Paris business school. His professional experience began at Schlumberger, carrying out projects in Latin America. Later, he joined the National Hydrocarbons Commission where he served as director of reserves, director of measurement, and head of the extraction unit. He also held a diplomatic position, representing Mexico in international organizations, such as the OECD, the IEA, the UN, and OPEC. From 2019 to 2021, he was Director General of Promotion of Productive Chains in the energy sector in the National Content Unit of the Ministry of Economy.  




Email: ulises.neri@ice-srm.org.mx



1 https://unece.org/sustainable-energy/unfc-and-sustainable-resource-management

2 https://unece.org/sustainable-energy/publications/united-nations-resource-management-system-overview-concepts

3 https://unece.org/ice-srm-0

4 https://unece.org/sustainable-energy/news/mexico-tests-use-unfc-assessment-petroleum-projects

5 https://unece.org/sed/documents/2021/02/working-documents/egrm-bureau-membership


Photo by:   Ulises Neri