Countries reminded of consequences of inaction on the Kimberley Process

Sorting diamonds. (Image courtesy of the World Diamond Council).

The president of the World Diamond Council, Stephane Fischler, reminded governments that they are responsible for the fate of the Kimberley Process’ reform.

In his opening address at the 2019 Kimberley Process Plenary Meeting in New Delhi, India, Fischler said that the decisions taken or avoided this week by the 81 countries that take part in the process will determine the outcome of the KP’s three-year reform and review cycle.

The KP has received criticisms, particularly following several media investigations on the different ways countries elude its rules, which led to human rights watchdog group Global Witness to leave the project in 2011

“Lives and livelihoods of individuals who rely on the work that we do together will be impacted by both your actions and inaction,” the executive said. “And let us be clear – a failure to act does not simply mean kicking the can down the road. It is a deliberate decision not to address those instances of gross abuse and violence causing pain and suffering in certain diamond-mining areas today, surrendering a chance for having a meaningful impact on the long-term development in the countries in which this is taking place.”

Fischler emphasized that a lack of action would also affect the industry, which will be seen as an enabler of those crimes. Such a perception, he added, would erode mining companies’ ability to generate revenues in the consumer markets and, as a consequence, economic growth and development. 

“But this does not need to be the case. We have in this room the countries, the organizations and the individuals who together can ensure that the odyssey of the Kimberley Process continues – that it remains a beacon of light for millions of people, involved and impacted by the extractive sector, often living in the most desperate of circumstances. These people are part of our supply chain,” the WDC president said.

Stephane Fischler reminded government officials at the meeting that the review committee has identified three key areas to work on. These areas are the strengthening of the scope of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, and more specifically to how broadly “conflict diamonds” are defined; the development of a more a stringent peer-review mechanism that makes the KP more effective and consistent in enforcing its own standards; and the establishment of a Permanent Secretariat, where a fully dedicated staff will provide the ongoing non-partisan support that is essential for the operation of the KPCS.

What it is

Kimberley is a process started in 2003 following the United Nations General Assembly’s Resolution 55/56. It is aimed at removing conflict diamonds from the global supply chain, which means that participants have to go through a certification scheme that ensures that their diamond purchases are not financing violence by rebel movements aiming at undermining legitimate governments.

In detail, the scheme puts in place internal controls over production and trade. Participating states can only legally trade with other participating states who have also met the minimum requirements of the program, and international shipments of rough diamonds must be accompanied by a certificate guaranteeing that they are conflict-free.

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