New York: World Diamond Council (WDC) President Feriel Zerouki struck a cautiously optimistic note at the conclusion of the 2023 Kimberley Process Plenary on November 10, 2023, at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, after the Plenary agreed on 98 items.
President Zerouki noted that a real milestone has been set with the finalization of arrangements for the establishment of Permanent KP Secretariat in Gaborone, Botswana, in 2024.
After another marathon session of 15 hours, she was also encouraged by the determined effort shown by KP members to address the body’s most challenging issues, within the framework of the current three-year Review and Reform Cycle. “If you wish to move mountains tomorrow, you must start by lifting stones today,” she said, quoting an African proverb.
The Plenary Meeting had wrapped up after five days of intense deliberations, with all decisions and agreements reached by consensus being issued in an official statement by the Outgoing KP Chair, Winston Chitando, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Local Government and Public Works.
Over the course of the Plenary Meeting, the Kimberley Process Secretariat Task Force, led by the WDC and supported by officials from the Government of Botswana, managed to complete the necessary agreements for the operation and status of the new KP administrative body. It will begin work in Gaborone next year after the official appointment of an Executive Secretary. Until then, the Administrative Support Mechanism that has been supplied by the WDC to the KP since 2013 will continue to operate.
The Angolan and South African leadership of the Ad Hoc Committee on Review and Reform drove progress on critical issues such as the expansion of the conflict diamond definition led by the WDC.
“Progressing with an expansion of the definition of conflict diamonds is imperative, both for the KP and for consumer confidence in natural diamonds,” she stated. “The encouraging progress and engagement in discussions on the definition so far is a testament to the willingness of Participants and Observers to reform the KP,” she said.
“Simply put, the values of a diamond will determine the value of that diamond,” Ms. Zerouki stressed.
The WDC strongly believes in the importance of the Kimberley Process in regulating the trade for rough diamonds across international borders. Despite the challenging landscape and the fact that the Plenary was unable to reach consensus on the Final Communiqué, which resulted in the statement by the KP Chair being distributed only within the KP family, many decisions were made to drive forward review and reform, cementing the work accomplished by KP Participants and Observers over the past 12 months.
The value of the KP mechanism for natural diamonds is unparalleled and that is why the WDC and its members remain confident in its future and are committed to strengthening the Kimberley Process from within. The WDC wishes to thank the outgoing KP Chair and the Government of Zimbabwe for their service and hospitality, and congratulates the incoming KP Chair, Ahmed Bin Sulayem, of the United Arab Emirates.