Civil society groups have turned an invitation to attend the November 13-17 Kimberley Process Plenary meeting in Dubai and end their boycott of Dubai as KP Chair.
In a letter to KP Chair Ahmed Bin Sulayem, the Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition refused to end the boycott, saying it did not believe the UAE had taken steps to address the issues that it had raised regarding its diamond trade. The 11 members of the Coalition have been boycotting the KP Chair this year "due to widespread concerns over the country’s lenient standards and antagonistic relationship with the Coalition."
The Coalition wrote that by failing to address internal issues, it “rendered the UAE’s presidency of the KP as flawed at the end of 2016, as it was in Luanda in November 2015.”
This year’s Chair—the UAE—is the third largest diamond trading center in the world, trading approximately $40 billion worth of diamonds in 2014, according to the Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre. "However, civil society and UN experts have raised concerns about negligent import controls that allow illicit diamonds to come in from conflict areas such as the Central African Republic, as well as the issue of transfer pricing and the undervaluation of diamonds," the civil society groups said in a statement. "In 2014, exports of diamonds from Dubai were on average 44 percent higher than their original import values."
The Coalition said it was concerned that the series of Valuation Seminars undertaken by the UAE this year “are designed to deflect attention away from the UAE addressing specific vulnerabilities and responsibilities regarding valuation within the Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre (DMCC).”
While the Coalition welcomes two proposals put forward by the KP Chair—a Permanent Secretariat under the United Nations and an independent funding mechanism for the Coalition—it said it wanted "clarity and definition as the concepts move forward."