Unearthing Challenges: Is KP ‘Dead’ or ‘Alive’?

(By Suresh Chotai): The Kimberley Process (KP), established in 2003, emerged as a beacon of hope to curb the trade in conflict diamonds, aiming to eliminate the link between diamond sales and funding for armed conflict. However, over the years, the KP has encountered a myriad of challenges that have tested its efficacy and raised questions about its ability to achieve its intended goals.

Over the years, the effectiveness and relevance of the KP have been subjects of debate, with critics pointing to various shortcomings. So it becomes essential to assess whether the KP is “dead” or “alive” in its mission to eradicate the trade of conflict diamonds.

over the years, the KP has encountered a myriad of challenges that have tested its efficacy and raised questions about its ability to achieve its intended goals.

Narrow Definition of Conflict Diamonds:

One of the fundamental issues faced by the Kimberley Process is its narrow definition of conflict diamonds. The focus primarily on diamonds funding rebel movements has been criticized for neglecting other critical aspects such as human rights abuses, child labor, and environmental degradation associated with diamond mining.

Lack of Transparency and Accountability:

Transparency is a cornerstone of any certification process, and the Kimberley Process has been marred by allegations of lacking transparency. Loopholes in the system, coupled with instances of corruption and insufficient accountability mechanisms, have allowed illicit diamonds to enter the market, undermining the entire purpose of the certification scheme.

Enforcement and Compliance Challenges:

While the KP sets forth regulations for participating countries, the effectiveness of these regulations is contingent on enforcement. Some countries have been accused of weak enforcement, and the absence of meaningful penalties for non-compliance has eroded confidence in the Kimberley Process.

Limited Scope for Evolving Challenges:

The diamond industry is not static, and new challenges have emerged that the KP was not initially equipped to handle. Issues such as the rise of synthetic diamonds and concerns related to responsible sourcing and ethical mining practices have strained the effectiveness of the Kimberley Process in addressing contemporary challenges.

Exclusion of Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners:

The KP has been criticized for not adequately incorporating the concerns and needs of artisanal and small-scale miners. These miners often face unique challenges and are essential stakeholders in the diamond industry, yet their voices are not sufficiently represented in the Kimberley Process decision-making.

Need for Continuous Reforms:

The Kimberley Process, in response to criticisms, has undergone reforms. However, the need for continuous adaptation and improvement is paramount. A lack of agility in addressing emerging issues could render the KP obsolete in the face of evolving dynamics in the diamond trade.

As the Kimberley Process navigates the complexities of the diamond trade, it grapples with a range of issues that demand immediate attention. From redefining conflict diamonds to enhancing transparency and addressing new challenges, the effectiveness of the KP hinges on its ability to evolve and respond to the ever-changing landscape of the diamond industry. Without robust reforms and a commitment to addressing these challenges head-on, the Kimberley Process risks losing its credibility and falling short of its mission to eliminate the trade in conflict diamonds.

Enforcement and Compliance:

Some participating countries have been accused of lax enforcement of KP regulations. The lack of penalties for non-compliance has undermined the credibility of the certification process.

Evolving Challenges:

The diamond industry is dynamic, and new challenges continually emerge. The rise of synthetic diamonds, for instance, poses a different set of concerns that the KP was not initially designed to address.

Alive and Evolving:

In response to criticisms, the Kimberley Process has undergone reforms. Efforts have been made to address the broader spectrum of issues in the diamond industry, including social and environmental considerations.

Technology Integration:

The KP has embraced technology to enhance traceability and transparency in the diamond supply chain. Blockchain technology, in particular, has been employed to create an immutable record of a diamond’s journey from mine to market.

Global Advocacy:

Civil society organizations and advocacy groups continue to play a crucial role in holding the KP accountable. Their efforts push for more comprehensive reforms and ensure that the diamond industry addresses not only conflict-related issues but also broader ethical concerns.


In 2023, the KP is neither entirely dead nor fully alive. It has shown resilience by adapting to new challenges and evolving to address a broader range of issues within the diamond trade. However, significant improvements are still needed to enhance its effectiveness, transparency, and ability to address emerging concerns in the ever-changing landscape of the diamond industry. Whether the Kimberley Process remains a powerful tool in combating conflict diamonds will depend on its ability to address current criticisms and proactively respond to future challenges.

Posted by Suresh Chotai