KP Chairman’s Opening Speech

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Chairman Abbey Chikane

Official Opening Speech of the Kimberley Process Plenary

October 30, 2003

Sun City, South Africa


Honorable Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, South Africa’s Minister of Minerals and Energy, Honorable Dr Nicky Iyambo, Namibia’s Minister of Mines, Honorable Tito Armando, Angola’s Deputy Minister of Mines, Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, it is an honour and privilege to welcome you all to the Kimberley Process Annual Plenary Session at Sun City, South Africa. I wish you all a very pleasant stay.

In terms of Section VI paragraph (1) of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme document, Participants and Observers are required to meet in Plenary annually, and on other occasions as Participants may deem necessary, in order to discuss the effectiveness of the Certification Scheme.

It is on this basis that we are gathered here today with a view to deliberate on the effectiveness of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme for the trade in rough diamonds.

Our mandate, as a collective, is to break the link between armed conflict and the illicit trade in rough diamonds.

The devastating impact of conflict on the peace, safety, and security of innocent civilians in affected countries, fueled by the trade in conflict diamonds, is clearly unacceptable.

Together, we have found a permanent solution to the global problem of conflict diamonds.

We successfully concluded our protracted negotiations on the theoretical framework of the Kimberley Process on 5th November 2002, in Interlaken, Switzerland.

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme document was adopted by a Ministerial Session of the Kimberley Process as the principal reference document for the implementation of the Certification Scheme.


On the 1st January 2003, we commenced the implementation of the Certification Scheme on a global, non-discriminatory basis, with all Applicants who were willing and able to fulfill minimum requirements of the Certification Scheme as enshrined in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme document.


Participants will recall that admission to the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme is in accordance with Section II, V (a) and Section VI (8 & 9) of the Certification Scheme document.

In recognition of the difficulties experienced by various Participants in implementing the Certification Scheme, Participants at the Special Plenary of the Kimberley Process held in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 28th – 30th April 2003, adopted an administrative decision on a final extension of the tolerance period within which the list of Participants would be confirmed.

Relevant documentation submitted by 31st May 2003, was to be assessed by the Chair, who, having issued an updated list by 5th May 2003, was required to issue a revised list by 10th June 2003. This revised list was subsequently issued on 11th June 2003.

The Johannesburg Plenary further resolved that a Participation Committee of no more than nine members be established. Of these nine members, no more than seven, including the Chair of the committee, would be selected from among Kimberley Process Participants. Two members of the Participation Committee would be selected from among Kimberley Process Observers; one from civil society and the other from industry.

Following consultations with Participants, the Chair of the Kimberley Process submitted the proposed composition of the Participation Committee for the approval of all Participants. The composition of the Participation Committee was approved by written procedure and consisted of the following members:

1. Angola

2. Canada

3. European Community

4. Israel

5. Russian Federation

6. South Africa

7. United States of America

8. Non-governmental Organisations (Global Witness and Partnership Africa-Canada)

9. World Diamond Council

The task of the Participation Committee was to assist the Chair of the Kimberley Process in assessing the application of new Kimberley Process Participants, in accordance with the provisions of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.

The list of Participants represented the culmination of months of hard work by states, regional economic integration organisations, the Participation Committee and the Kimberley Process Interim Secretariat. Together, we tried to deliver highly balanced results, which were sensitive and took into consideration difficulties faced by Applicants in meeting minimum requirements.

As a consequence, the tolerance period ended on 31st July 2003. All those who met minimum requirements on this date were considered as Participants in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. Others have since been re-classified as Applicants.

Of those countries who have met the minimum requirements on the 31st July 2003, the Participation Committee requested that the Kimberley Process Secretariat follow up on some outstanding issues with regard to Compliance. I am pleased to inform you that three further countries have been added to the list of Participants as a result of additional information received. They are Brazil, Romania, and Togo. At this time, I would like to request that all countries who were asked for further information should provide this to the Kimberley Process Secretariat as soon as possible. The Interim Secretariat and I undertake to follow up with all relevant Participants in order to ensure that we receive the remaining documentation.

Let me take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to those countries that worked tirelessly to meet the deadline, but unfortunately could not do so due to circumstances beyond their control. I encourage those countries to continue their relentless efforts to meet minimum requirements. I also would like to urge those participants that have the resources to provide every possible support to those that may not have the capability to implement the Certification Scheme.


In terms of the Kimberley Process Rules of Procedure Section IV (Rule 15), “Each year, at its first regular session, the Plenary shall select a Chair and one Vice Chair from among the Participants”, the new Chair and Vice Chair are to be selected by all Participants.

May I again remind Participants that the Johannesburg Plenary resolved that the Chair of the Kimberley Process would facilitate the selection process of the new Chair and the Vice Chair of the Kimberley Process from among Participants for a period of 12 months from 1st January – 31st December 2004.

In terms of the administrative decision on the selection of the new Chair, a Selection Committee was established. Following a consultative process with all Participants, the following Participants were nominated as members of the Selection Committee:

1. Angola

2. Australia

3. Botswana

4. Canada

5. China

6. European Community

7. Israel

8. Namibia

9. Russian Federation

10. South Africa

11. Switzerland

12. United States of America

The mandate of the Selection Committee was to assist the Chair in the Selection of the new Chair and the Vice Chair. The Chair invited written submissions from all Participants regarding potential candidates for both positions.

As part of the consultative process, the Chair requested Participants to submit their nominations not later than the 31 August 2003. However, owing to the fact that in the Northern hemisphere, political and administrative life comes to a near halt, the European Commission requested that the submission period be extended.

As a result of this request the submission date was extended to the 30th September 2003.

In August, Canada formally expressed interest in the position of the Chair and indicated its qualification for the position. Botswana and Russia also expressed their interest.

The Selection Committee has since met and assessed the submissions of the three candidates. The following is a summary of the Selection Committee’s recommendations to the Chair:

· All three candidates presented highly credible bids, making any recommendation a most difficult decision

· In assessing the bids the Committee also took into account the degree of continuity that the Kimberley Process needs in the important tasks that lie ahead over the next two years, including on monitoring and the first review of the Certification Scheme

· To that end, the Committee felt it would be appropriate for the Rules of Procedure to be amended slightly to allow for a selected Vice-Chair to progress automatically and become Chair in the following year

· The Committee therefore recommended that on this basis Canada should be selected as the Chair and Russia as the Vice-Chair

I believe that this represents a constructive outcome and I recommend that Plenary should instruct the Working Group to adjust the Rules of Procedure accordingly, and that Participants then select as office holders for 2004 Canada as Chair and Russia as Vice-Chair. Botswana has most graciously accepted the recommendation of the Selection Committee and I should like to record here my gratitude for their understanding.


The Kimberley Process is based on the principle that participation should be global and non-discriminatory in order to ensure that all players in the global diamond industry are included. This is in compliance with the World Trade Organisation and is also in line with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme document.

Consequent to my interim statement in December 2002, which is part of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme record, I am pleased to report that the rough diamond trading entity of Chinese Taipei is now implementing the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. It is a diamond trading entity that controls its own trade and issues its own customs documents and therefore it was clearly important that it too needed to implement the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme by issuing the Kimberley Process Certificates and attending Kimberley Process meetings in order to be part of decisions that are taken on the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. It would not have been acceptable for significant trade in diamonds to be taking place outside the scheme.

It is on this basis that I tend towards the view that the definition of a Participant and Observer need not necessarily be changed.

In view of the fact that the issue of Chinese Taipei‘s mode of participation has not yet been resolved, and the proposal I recently circulated did not achieve consensus, I therefore would like to encourage the new Chair of the Kimberley Process to continue the dialogue with all the parties concerned with a view to reach an amicable resolution.


A review mission consisting of Participants and Observers visited the Central African Republic in June 2003, in order to assess the effectiveness of the control measures. I’m pleased to inform you that the review mission reported that they were satisfied with the Central African Republic’s ability and capacity to implement the Certification Scheme. They did however, encourage the CAR government to improve their internal monitoring and control systems.


The three working groups on Monitoring and Control, Statistics, and Diamond Experts, have been working since our last Plenary and have also met yesterday to seek to finalise their work. We will shortly be hearing the reports from the Chairs of these three groups, and we will have to decide whether to accept their recommendations or request them to undertake further work.


In terms of the UNGA 57 resolution on the Kimberley Process, we are due to submit a further report to the 58th session. The South African mission in New York will be working with Participants to see that a new resolution is negotiated shortly.

The Security Council for its part still has sanctions in place against Liberia, and is also receiving regular reports on the situation in other areas of concern.


The Certification scheme document acknowledges in its preamble that the scheme must be consistent with laws governing international trade. It was therefore an important moment in May this year when the Member States of the World Trade Organisation agreed unanimously to the proposal from several Kimberley Process Participants that implementation of the Kimberley Process should not give rise to concerns in the WTO.


The new Chair will face significant challenges in taking forward the issues of monitoring and control, and statistics, in order to ensure that the Scheme is effective and credible.

Now that all major players are Participants, we are moving into a new phase of the Kimberley Process, and we need to ensure that the momentum we have built up is not lost.

South Africa was pleased to have been entrusted with the task of bringing together governments, business, and civil society in this unique forum and we would like to thank everyone for the co-operative and flexible manner in which they have supported us as Chair. In particular, the working method we developed of Friends of the Chair, together with very effective and hardworking Chairs of working groups contributed significantly to our success.


I would like to thank all Participants, perhaps singling out for special mention, Ton de Vries of the EU, who was the original architect of the Framework Document. I would also like to thank the World Diamond Council, representing the diamond industry, who, under the very able leadership of Eli Izhakoff, have brought on board the entire diamond industry in support of the Scheme. In this regard, I would have to mention the work of Mark von Bockstael and their Team who have worked tirelessly to ensure industry compliance.

Our work would never have proceeded as far as it has without the participation of the NGO community led by Global Witness and Partnership Africa-Canada. And so I would like to take this opportunity of thanking them as well for the major contribution they have made in ensuring that the Process kept moving forward. I am sure that their work will continue.

On a more personal note I would like to record once again my special thanks to Rina Pretorius for her outstanding work in support of the Chair. Whatever achievements I may be credited with are in fact, in large part, due to her dedication and diligence. She is now in Cameroon where she has opened the new South African Embassy and I wish her all the success in her future endeavours. I also need to thank her boss John Davies and André Stemmet for all their legal and diplomatic support.

I would like to offer a special word of thanks to Minister Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka for the confidence she has shown in me and for the support she has given me. Thank you too, to the staff of the Department of Minerals and Energy and the South African Diamond Board.

You may have noticed a new face in the Secretariat, Jeremy Peddar, who has been seconded to us by the Canadian government. He has been very hardworking and supportive and I would like to thank the Canadian government for that. Many thanks to Khosi Jiyane, Mary Nene and Deli Buthelezi for their secretarial support.

I thank you all.

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