The United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC) standard is attracting growing interest from geothermal experts worldwide, indicating strong potential for its contribution to climate action and sustainable development.
UNFC is a globally applicable standard for classifying resources that provides a common language for facilitating their efficient and effective management. The International Geothermal Association (IGA) is responsible for developing and maintaining documents relating to the application of UNFC to geothermal energy via a memorandum of understanding signed with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in 2014. The most recent result of this cooperation is the development of the Updated Specifications for Application of UNFC to Geothermal Energy Resources by the UNFC Ad Hoc Committee of IGA.
In the past years, UNFC has been used to develop geothermal resource classifications and pilot projects for a number of countries including Ethiopia, Mexico, Indonesia, and St. Lucia. In September 2022, Australia became the first jurisdiction to mandate the UNFC Geothermal Specifications for classifying and reporting geothermal energy resources with guidance from the Australian Geothermal Association (AGA).
In October 2022, delegations from Central American countries, all members of the Central American Integration System (SICA), engaged with experts from UNECE and its Expert Group on Resource Management to share expertise in sustainable geothermal practices. Discussions included detailed and structured analysis of progress and technical support to scale-up geothermal energy deployment and support sustainable development.
The German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) of Germany is also working with SICA country experts to develop a digital tool to facilitate application of UNFC to geothermal energy, stemming from the decision trees embedded in the UNFC Geothermal Specifications.
“Geothermal energy is an underutilized and underdeveloped sustainable energy resource. Countries need support to expand knowledge, technology transfer, and harmonized data to access financing. I call on countries such as the United Kingdom to lead the way in assessing all their geothermal resources based on UNFC,” said UNFC Adhoc Committee Chair Gioia Falcone.
“UNECE offers a platform for inclusive and transparent dialogue, exchanges of best practices and lessons learned to support the sustainability of all natural resources, including geothermal energy. In cooperation with our sister UN Regional Commissions, support is available to empower nations to deliver the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement,” said UNECE Director of the Sustainable Energy Division Dario Liguti.