RAPAPORT… Members of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KP) will meet in Brussels June 12-14, 2007 to review progress on previous recommendations and seek ways to strengthen its efficiency. (Scroll to end of the story to read full press release.)
The meeting follows the KP’s annual meeting in November 2006 in Gaborone, Botswana, where members agreed on a number of recommendations to increase transparency including the publication of statistics, and the co-ordination of technical assistance.
“The Brussels meeting provides an important opportunity for stocktaking on the implementation of those recommendations,” the European Commission (EC) stated. The EC took over the KP chairmanship at the start of 2007.
The meeting will also focus upon ways to prevent the illicit trade of diamonds from the Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire,) which is said to be the main source of conflict diamonds in the market today.
During the second half of 2006, World Diamond Council chairman Eli Izhakoff, reported that an estimated $9 million and $23 million worth of diamonds are fuelling internal conflict in the Ivory Coast. Meanwhile, the KP has agreed to adopt an action plan to clear Ghana of suspicions that it is involved in the illicit diamond trade with neighboring Ivory Coast.
The Brussels meeting comes a week after a KP review team returned from a visit to Zimbabwe to assess the country’s implementation of the scheme’s rules. The findings from the visit are yet to be disclosed.
The EC stated that it would seek ways to improve the review mechanism, having almost completed the first round of ‘review visits’ to all KP member countries.
Among the measures the KP is exploring to improve its effectiveness includes using scientific expertise to identify the origin of diamonds.
The KP 2007 Annual Plenary will be held in Brussels from 5 to 8 November 2007.
Kimberley Process: key players meet to strengthen efforts against conflict diamonds.
In November 2002, an agreement was reached on the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS): an innovative system imposing extensive requirements on all Participants to control all imports and exports of rough diamonds and to put in place rigorous internal controls over production and trade to ensure that conflict diamonds could not enter the legal diamond trade. In four years, the Kimberley Process has helped to reduce the amount of conflict diamonds to a tiny fraction of world trade.
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme now has 46 Participants (representing 72 countries, with the European Community counting as a single Participant). It includes all major diamond producing, trading and polishing centres, and counts on the active participation of civil society and industry groups. Its most recent addition was Liberia, admitted on 4 May 2007, following the positive assessment of Kimberley Process experts and the decision of the UN Security Council to lift diamond sanctions.
The Kimberley Process has developed a number of tools to enable assessment of implementation and to address any issues which may arise. These tools include regular statistical reporting, annual reports and other compliance verification measures, such as review missions to participants where ‘credible indications of significant non-compliance’ have been detected. In October 2003, the Kimberley Process members agreed a comprehensive system of peer review. Since then, virtually all Participants have now invited peer review visits. To date, nearly 40 review visits have been carried out, in addition to a number of ad hoc monitoring missions, expert missions to applicant countries and review missions in cases of suspected non-compliance. Peer review teams are composed of representatives of governments, industry and civil society.
The Kimberley Process Chairmanship rotates annually. The EC holds the current chair.