KP Chair Proposes Transition to Peace Diamonds

Alok Vardhan Chaturvedi

Mumbai: The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) Intersessional Meeting 2019 is an annual mid-year event of KPCS, which unites administrations, civil societies and diamond industry in reducing the flow of conflict diamonds used to finance wars against governments around the world. India is the KP chair for 2019 and is hosting the KP Intersessional meeting in Mumbai from 17th-21st June 2019.

Mr. Alok Vardhan Chaturvedi, KP Chair (India) and Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) hosted and addressed KP participants from 82 countries including the US, Russian Federation, European Union, Africa, Canada, China, Israel, Japan, Singapore, Australia, UAE, New Zealand, South Africa, South Asia, etc. Mr. Stephane Fischler (President, World Diamond Council) and Mr. Shamiso Mtisi (Coordinator of the KP Civil Society Coalition) also addressed the inaugural session. The Kimberley Process Chairmanship 2019 India event is organized by the Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India; and co-organised by KP Exporting/ Importing Authority – Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC).

Mr. Chaturvedi addressed distinguished gathering comprising honourable Vice Chair of KP Russian Federation, Chairs of Working Groups – Working Group Of Diamond Experts (WGDE), Working Group On Monitoring (WGM), Working Group on Statistics (WGS), Working Group On Artisanal & Alluvial Production (WGAAP) – and Chairs of the Committees – Committee On Participation And Chairmanship (CPC), Committee On Rules And Procedures (CRP), Ad Hoc Committee On Reform and Review (AHCRR); representatives from Botswana, President & Representatives of World Diamond Council Coordinators of Civil Society Coalition amongst others.

In his inaugural address, Mr. Alok Vardhan Chaturvedi, KP Chair (India) and DGFT, said, “India, as one of the founding members of KPCS, and as KP Chair 2019, is happy, proud & privileged to host the 2019 Kimberley Process Intersessional meet in Mumbai, a city with a diamond tradition that dates back to centuries and home to the world’s largest diamond bourse (exchange) Bharat Diamond Bourse. In its 16th Year, the Kimberley Process has contributed towards peace, security and prosperity globally and India is committed to leading and enlarging the influence of the KP.”

Advocating a transition from ‘conflict diamonds towards peace diamonds’, Mr. Chaturvedi added, “Today, almost 99.8% of the world’s diamonds come from conflict-free sources. The 4Cs (Cut, Clarity, Colour & Carat) of diamond may soon be expanded to 5Cs with the 5th C being ‘Conflict-free’. And the 5Ps of diamond marketing (Precious, Popular, Prestige, Priceless) will include ‘Peace’ diamonds.” He added, “India, as KP Chair would continue to work with the Governments, international diamond industry and civil society towards building consensus and strengthening KP. KP Intersessional meet will help in creating a clear & concise Core Document, enhancing KP standards and modalities with peer review mechanism; raising the level of representation and participation; improving the gathering and flow of essential data amongst other key goals.”

In addition to the presentations by the Working Group Chairs and other presentations, KP Intersessional meet in Mumbai will have special forums on Diamond Terminology, Artisanal Mining and how to make collective programs work where Mumbai’s famous Dabbawallas will present the Chain of Custody and All India Angadiya’s Association will present indigenous solutions. Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry will present on pooling resources through Common Facility Centres (CFCs). And the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) will present sessions on Cluster Mapping, Parichay Card, Health Insurance schemes, etc.

WDC Calls to Safeguard Interests of Mining Community

The Lamp Lighting Ceremony

The World Diamond Comnucil (WDC) President Mr. Stephane Fischler has called on Kimberley Process-member governments to do what is necessary to safeguard the interests of their mining communities, and in so doing optimize the developmental potential of their natural resources. He was speaking during the Opening Session of the 2019 Intersessional Meeting of the Kimberley Process (KP), which opened today in the Indian city of Mumbai.

“We must agree that the Kimberley Process should ensure that each government takes responsibility to ensure a chain of provenance, earning the trust of consumers wherever they are, and in so doing produce the revenues that must filter back to the grass roots of the mining communities,” Mr. Fischler stated.

Historically, he noted, one of the most critical factors determining whether a country’s economy is able to take advantage of the potential offered by its rough diamond deposits is the relative absence of ongoing conflict and violence.

“There is a dramatic disparity between the development level of those countries and the others that suffered the tragedy of civil war, Mr. Fischler stated. “Only today are some slowly realizing the opportunities that their commodities could offer, in helping maintain the peace and allowing for nation building.”

The Intersessional Meeting is one of two gatherings of all KP participants that will take place in India in 2019, which is the final year of a three-year reform and review process underway in the organization. “The Kimberley Process has today a one-time opportunity to make a difference in those countries where the diamond industry has not yet met its developmental potential,” he said.

Mr. Fischler delineated the elements that distinguish review from reform. Reform, he said, involves enhancing internal processes, so that the KP can “make better use of the instruments we ourselves have created, or will create in the future, for the benefit of the members, to generate a more efficient and effective organization.” These, he said, include a simplified and more consistent core document, a strengthened peer-review mechanism, the creation of a permanent secretariat, and the establishment of a multi-donor fund to ensure that all participants are capable of being fully active within the KP.

Reform is a more fundamental process, the WDC President stressed, noting that in its case industry believes the definition of what constitutes “conflict diamonds” should be expanded. “We strongly believe that, by helping eliminate the trade in diamonds directly associated with instances of systemic violence, we can bring about a more responsible and ethical mining sector, thus enabling a fairer distribution of the benefits delivered to millions of people,” he stated.

While the diamond industry and civil society will do all that they can to support constructive change as observers in the KP, ultimately it will be up to governments to reach consensus on the review and reform that is required, Mr. Fischler said.

“We need you, the country representatives, to have the courage to look into the eyes of your own people – the men, women and children active and living in the diamond-mining areas. They ask that they be allowed to live, rather than simply survive. They request safety and security for themselves and their families, and to be dignified with a proper wage, so that they may build a better future for themselves and their children, and contribute proudly as citizens,” he said.

“We are relying on each of you, during this final year of the review and reform process, to show the consumers of diamonds that the Kimberley Process can unite around a program that will ensure better care and protection of your brothers and sisters,” Mr. Fischler said.

Prior to the opening session, the WDC hosted an Observers’ Forum with the other official observers in the KP, including the Civil Society Coalition (CSC), the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) and the African Diamond Producers Association (ADPA).