The definition of a conflict diamond will remain unchanged, despite a three-year effort to broaden the mandate of the Kimberley Process (KP).
Government representatives were not able to reach the required consensus on the issue at last week’s plenary meeting in New Delhi, India. The meeting on November 22 marked the end of the KP’s three-year review period, thus presenting a final opportunity for the definition to be updated, reported the World Diamond Council (WDC), which represents the industry at the KP.
The definition has been the subject of debate for several years, with critics arguing that the current language doesn’t reflect the present situation. The WDC has been working to expand the definition — which is centered on rough diamonds used by rebel movements — to include human-rights abuses, labor rights and all forms of systemic violence.
“While the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme [KPCS] continues to fulfill an important function, the failure of the political process to achieve consensus was a missed opportunity to enhance the effectiveness of this foundation stone of integrity in the diamond business,” WDC president Stephane Fischler said Friday.
Although KP member states did not reach a unanimous decision on the expanded definition, which is required for the motion to pass, they did endorse the WDC’s updated system of warranties (SoW). The new guidelines specifically reference international conventions relating to human and labor rights, anti-corruption and anti-money laundering, Fischler noted.
“While we advocated hard to strengthen the scope of the KP, we simultaneously strengthened the SoW, which is a powerful tool that is already applied by the industry, to ensure consumer confidence both within the KP and independently,” Fischler added.
At the plenary meeting, the KP also agreed to restructure the operational framework system created for the Central African Republic (CAR). “We will soon be issuing guidance in this respect for the industry,” Fischler said, explaining that the new process would transfer the burden of verifying provenance to importers in the trading centers.
The country is currently separated by green zones, from which monitored export is allowed, and red zones, from which export is prohibited, according to the KP’s guidelines.
“We support the objectives of this change in policy, which is to encourage an increase in legal exports from CAR, as well as improve the efficiency of the system,” Fischler continued.
Image: WDC president Stephan Fischler speaking at the KP Plenary. (World Diamond Council)