New York: The World Diamond Council (WDC), an industry group focused on preventing conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate global supply chain and protecting the value of natural diamonds, reaffirmed its commitment to driving ongoing positive change through reform at the 2018 KP Intersessional meeting held in Antwerp, Belgium June 18-22. The Intersessional is an annual forum where members gather to discuss the technical aspects of the various working groups that comprise the Kimberley Process. Individual members of the WDC currently serve on a range of KP working groups that include Monitoring, CAR Monitoring Team, Statistics, Rules and Procedures, Participation and Chairmanship, Alluvial and Artisanal Production and Diamond Experts.
In a speech planned for later today, Stephane Fischler, Acting President of the WDC, is expected to reiterate the need for KP review and reform in the areas of scope of conflict diamonds, KPCS minimum standards, and long term implementation of KPCS directives via a Permanent Secretariat. He is also expected to appeal to alluvial diamond producing countries in particular to embrace the opportunities for progress and improving lives in their own communities made possible with the KP.
In addition to encouraging KP reform, the WDC continues to advocate for positive change from within. This month the WDC System of Warranties (SoW) entered a public review period following the completion of an industry review. The WDC SoW extends the assurances provided by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) by requiring all diamond suppliers and diamond jewelry manufacturers to pass on a conflict free warranty statement each time diamond goods (rough or polished) change hands. It also asks SoW statement users to ensure that trading activities maintain strict adherence of universally accepted principles on human and labor rights, anticorruption and anti-money laundering in support of the obligatory implementation.
The WDC is also taking an active role throughout the year in encouraging reform by meeting directly with organizations and governments that can effect change in areas where the issues of conflict diamonds are most acute. Last month, executives from the WDC traveled to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and met with the chair of the Working Group on Artisanal and Alluvial Production (WGAAP); the Minister of Mines; the Center for Evaluation, Expertise and Certification (CEEC) chair; deputy chair and team; the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI); and DRC civil society members. In April 2018, the WDC pledged its support to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) due diligence guidance (DDG) for responsible supply chains of minerals from conflict-affected and high-risk areas.
“Together through the KP, civil society, government and industry are making important progress toward long-term solutions that address the modern challenges of diamond communities around the world,” said Mr. Fischler. “But that is not enough. We must also look within ourselves to encourage dialogue, listen to concerns and drive meaningful and ongoing progress from within. By constructively challenging policies and procedures, together we will create a better path forward and uphold the duty of care we owe to the people and communities where diamonds are produced.”