The Kimberley Process (KP) is in its last phase of a three-year reform and review process, which takes place every five years, according to the World Diamond Council (WDC).
Council president Stephane Fischler told a diamond conference in Gaborone on Tuesday that KP, which was established in 2003 to stem the selling of conflict diamonds, has evolved together with consumer expectations and technology.
“The Kimberley Process looks at itself and see if its standards are still relevant for today,” he said.
“That’s where we stand…we proposed together with the civil society – and we are not alone anymore – that we need to strengthen the scope of the KP to meet the expectations of consumers but also of the 5% that represents the alluvial diamond mining communities, which are really the focus of KP.”
He said 95% of the value of diamonds is mined by companies such as De Beers, Alrosa, and Dominion, while the remaining 5% represents 10 million people in Africa who are surviving on the extraction of diamonds.
“So we owe it to them, to consumers to build a stronger [and] modernised KP,” said Fischler.
He said they had made proposals together with the civil society of a strengthened scope, a new definition of conflict diamonds.
“As observers we cannot table it and it was taken over by Canada, who agreed with our proposal and tabled it to KP as one proposal to expand this definition and expand the scope,” he said.
The Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition are lobbying for a new definition of conflict diamonds, which will include reference to public security forces or private (including criminal or mercenary) armed groups, as well as to systemic and widespread violence, forced labour, the worst forms of child labour and violations of international humanitarian law.
Most African countries are reportedly against the change in definition as it could restrict market access for Zimbabwean and Angolan gems, if approved.