NPD geologist re-elected to UN post
22/05/2023 In late April, geologist Stig-Morten Knutsen was re-elected to the board of a UN expert group for resources (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe /Expert Group on Resource Management – UNECE/EGRM).
This expert group works to develop, promote and support the implementation of a global system (called UNFC/UNRMS) that can be used as a framework for sustainable management of natural resources. This will take place within the framework of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030).
Access to energy for all
The UN's Sustainable Development Goals are a global, joint plan to eradicate poverty, combat inequality and stop climate change by 2030. They consist of 17 primary goals and 169 sub-goals.
"All Sustainable Development Goals are important, but since the NPD's mandate is within energy resources, the Sustainable Development Goal concerning access to energy for all (Goal #7) is particularly relevant for us. All Sustainable Development Goals are interlinked. Despite the fact that the NPD has administrative responsibility for petroleum, we also need to deal with the goals related to health, education, clean water, poverty and similar challenges," Knutsen says.
The NPD's well-established classification system for oil and gas is connected to the UN's global system for resource classification.
"The classification system under the UN system is now also linked to the European Commission, particularly for minerals. This means that it could also affect us in Norway through our relationship with the EU. At the NPD, we're considering using the UN's system in carbon capture and storage (CCS) and seabed minerals," he says.
Interdiscoplinary expert group
The board of the expert group consists of just over 20 members, while the actual expert group totals more than 100 members. They have interdisciplinary backgrounds and come from all around the world. The board meets 1-3 times each quarter. Many of the meetings are digital, but some involve travelling to the UN office in Geneva.
"The use of natural resources, such as petroleum and minerals, is necessary and important for safe and accessible energy, including in the energy transition. The energy transition also needs to take place in an environmentally sound way. This is why it's particularly important to keep an eye on the development and application of a reputable UN system to classify resources," Knutsen says.
Knutsen normally works at the NPD's office in Harstad. He also holds a position as Professor II at UiT, the Arctic University of Norway.