RAPAPORT… The United Nations (U.N) General Assembly passed a resolution on December 4, backing the Kimberley Process and its efforts to stem the flow of conflict diamonds, reported UN News Centre.
“The General Assembly, recognizing that the trade in conflict diamonds continues to be a matter of serious international concern, which can be directly linked to the fuelling of armed conflict… reaffirms its strong and continuing support for the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and the Kimberley Process as a whole,” the resolution stated.
The resolution recognized that the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) bolsters Security Council resolutions by imposing sanctions on industries where trade in conflict diamonds is carried out. Additionally, the resolution expressed support for the decision taken by the annual KP meeting in Botswana earlier this month calling for “stronger internal control” standards for participants as well as for clearer guidance on implementing effective controls from the mining to the export of diamonds.
Aimed at preventing conflict diamonds from funding warfare and civil unrest, the resolution was adopted by 192 member states after they were briefed by Botswana’s President Festus Mogae on the status of KPCS.
Mogae’s briefing to the Assembly included a 2006 progress report on the Kimberly Process, which concluded that it was working well although there were still some problems, particularly in Côte d’Ivoire and South America.
“Some of Côte d’Ivoire’s neighbors are not Kimberley Process participants and, therefore, the Kimberley Process has relatively limited influence over such countries. The Kimberley Process views the problem of leakage diamonds from Côte d’Ivoire into the legitimate trade as one that may require a regional approach to resolve,” the report stated.
“The other area where there are challenges that require a regional approach is in South America, and specifically concerning Brazil, Guyana and Venezuela,” the report noted, adding that “all countries” in both regions were encouraged to join the KP as recommended by the Security Council.
Mogae acknowledged there was still work to do with the Kimberley Process but also highlighted its successes, while speaking with reporters following the briefing.
“Before the Certification Scheme it was reported that conflict diamonds were possibly about four percent of global production. Now with Certification we have admitted in my report that …we are glad to say that they are now less than one percent,” he added.
The European Union has been designated to head up the chairmanship of the Kimberley Process in 2007.