Ulises Neri Flores
Vice Chair ONU
United Nations
Expert Contributor

Addressing 2030 Agenda Challenges in Extractive Industries

By Ulises Neri | Thu, 08/25/2022 - 09:00

Extractive industries (oil, gas, mining) have a great influence on our daily lives. We find products and derivatives of these industries everywhere: clothing, batteries, electronic products and hygiene products, among others. However, societal pressures are increasing in relation to environmental issues since there is a greater awareness of the impact on the planet from our consumption patterns.

In recent years, the use of the term “Energy Transition” has increased as a “solution” to tackle environmental issues and therefore climate change; however, this concept is associated in most cases, incorrectly with the promotion of wind or solar energy. We need to consider more than only these types of energies in the mix of different energy sources according to the specific needs of a country or region in terms of fiscal revenues, energy security, energy sovereignty, access to energy, climate change and development, among other drivers and priorities.

Based on these drivers and needs, extractive industries play and will be playing an important role in several aspects of the economy in many countries. In this regard, the United Nations emphasizes the actions that must be taken; for instance, “Transforming Extractive Industries for Sustainable Development1” is a document that lists the actions that can be applied by governments and industries mainly to meet the expectations of society in an effective way based of the objectives established in the 2030 Agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals. As an example, this document mentions the use of the UNFC2 and UNRMS3 standards, which seek to guarantee a comprehensive analysis of the technical, economic, social and environmental aspects that must be analyzed and observed in projects related to extractive industries.

UNFC (United Nations Framework Classification)

UNFC is a global, principles-based and user-friendly system for classifying, managing and reporting mineral, petroleum, renewable energy, anthropogenic resources and injection projects. UNFC is a unique system in which resource quantities are classified based on three fundamental criteria that reflect technical, economic, and social-environmental elements.

UNRMS (United Nations Resources Management System)

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has inaugurated a new era of global development marked by an imperative to integrate social, environmental, and economic objectives. The multifaceted requirements of sustainable development depend on optimal and responsible production and use of natural resources. Today’s supply and use patterns of natural resources are unsustainable. They present challenges in terms of environmental and societal impact and the long-term availability of the resources needed for sustainable development.

Over many years, the United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC) has become a unified system for classifying, accounting, and reporting on activities associated with resource production based on social, environmental, and economic viability, technical feasibility, and degree of confidence in resource estimates. In 2017, UNECE (UN Economic Commission for Europe) member states decided to extend UNFC beyond a classification system to a dynamic resource management system that can help countries, organizations, and companies address sustainability challenges. The Expert Group on Resource Management (EGRM) has been tasked to develop the UNRMS, a voluntary global standard for integrated and sustainable resource management.

UNRMS is a comprehensive resource management system for sustainable development that is expected to be future-facing. It will support stakeholders in various goals, including aiding the incorporation of a circular economy wherever possible. The critical objective of UNRMS is to support the United Nations Decade of Action for accelerating sustainable solutions for resource management. UNRMS will consider various resources not as isolated or independent sectors but as part of the whole resource base of an area, region or country.

To publicize and implement these standards, the United Nations through UNECE established a network of centers International Centers of Excellence on Sustainable Resources Management (ICE-SRMs)4 that seek to support actions related to Sustainability in Extractive Industries and Energy, Each center will promote within its activity footprint the global use of the UNFC and the UNRMS to describe the resources necessary for the achievement of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Agreement.

The centers are conceived to provide in full compliance with the adopted UNECE standards and guidelines policy support, technical advice and consultation, education, training, dissemination and other critical activities for stakeholders involved in sustainable development of national resource endowments.


1 https://unece.org/sustainable-energy/publications/policy-brief-transforming-extractive-industries-sustainable

2 https://unece.org/sustainable-energy/sustainable-resource-management/unfc-documents

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

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

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


The center for Mexico and Latin America is led by Ulises Neri, a member of the Expert Group on Resource Management EGRM5. Ulises 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. 

Photo by:   Ulises Neri Flores