Gaborone: The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) Plenary held from 1st to 4th November 2022 in Gaborone, Botswana, continued its commitment for maintaining a conflict-free natural diamond supply chain with constructive and fruitful discussions between participants. The Working Group achieved desired outcomes and conclusions on various matters through consultations and consensus.
As per the rules and procedures of the Core Document of the KPCS, an Ad-hoc Committee for Review and Reforms (AHCRR) was formed during the Botswana Plenary for overseeing the Kimberley Process Review and Reform Cycle to be observed from next year onwards. It was unanimously decided that Angola will be the Chair and South Africa will be the Vice Chair of the AHCRR.
The Committee could consist of other interested past Chairs of KPCs and observers could consist of Australia, Belarus, Botswana, Canada, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, European Union, India, Israel, Namibia, Russian Federation, South Africa, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Zimbabwe, World Diamond Council, Civil Society Coalition, African Diamond Producers Association, and Diamond Development Initiative as its members. The Committee will be open for other interested members and observers to participate as well.
The Indian delegation consisting of representatives from the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Govt. of India and the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) contributed towards reframing the language of the terms of reference of the AHCRR. India also played a vital role along with other participants to reach consensus on important matters.
Protracted and prolonged overnight discussions went on between two sides viz. Russia, Belarus & Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine, EU, USA & Canada on the last day of the Plenary on the issue of whether or how the language of the Russia-Ukraine conflict will be inserted in the Final Communique. India again played a constructive role in that process through positive interventions to help both the groups reach consensus.
The Plenary entrusted the AHCRR with tasks covering proposals on the definition of ‘Conflict Diamond’, strengthening KPCS through technical assistance, structural review to address challenges faced due to diamond mining activities by CSR to support artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM), country compliance and KP governance related matters. The AHCRR will become operational by the first quarter of 2023 and report back to the Plenary with its recommendations, preferably by 2023.
The physical office of the KPCS having a Permanent Secretariat will be set up in Botswana and is likely to be operational by 2024. The formal office will support the regular activities and initiatives of KPCS will improve its efficiency and efficacy.
The Indian delegation visited diamond factories set up in Botswana, and met with Dr. Rajesh Ranjan, the High Commissioner of India in Botswana. They discussed the potential to explore bilateral business. GJEPC and the Ministry of Commerce & Industry will continue to explore opportunities with the Botswana Govt. in the larger interest of the Indian gem and jewellery trade.