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Conflict Free Diamonds and The Kimberley Process

How does the Kimberley Process work?

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) imposes extensive requirements (*) on its members to enable them to certify shipments of rough diamonds as ‘conflict-free' and prevent conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate trade. Under the terms of the KPCS, participating states must meet ‘minimum requirements' and must put in place national legislation and institutions; export, import and internal controls; and also commit to transparency and the exchange of statistical data. Participants can only legally trade with other participants who have also met the minimum requirements of the scheme, and international shipments of rough diamonds must be accompanied by a KP certificate guaranteeing that they are conflict-free.

The Kimberley Process is chaired, on a rotating basis, by participating countries. So far, South Africa, Canada, Russia, Botswana, the European Union, India, Namibia, Israel, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have chaired the KP, and the United States of America is the Chair in 2012. KP participating countries and industry and civil society observers gather twice a year at intersessional and plenary meetings, as well as in working groups and committees that meet on a regular basis. Implementation is monitored through ‘review visits' and annual reports as well as by regular exchange and analysis of statistical data.

(*)The requirements for participation are outlined in Sections II, V (a) and VI (8,9) of the KPCS.

The Kimberley Process: unique and effective

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) has evolved into an effective mechanism for stemming the trade in conflict diamonds and is recognized as a unique conflict-prevention instrument to promote peace and security. The joint efforts of governments, industry leaders and civil society representatives have enabled the Kimberley Process (KP) to curb successfully the flow of conflict diamonds in a very short period of time. Diamond experts estimate that conflict diamonds now represent a fraction of one percent of the international trade in diamonds, compared to estimates of up to 15% in the 1990s. That has been the KP's most remarkable contribution to a peaceful world, which should be measured not in terms of carats, but by the effects on people's lives.

The KP has done more than just stem the flow of conflict diamonds, it has also helped stabilise fragile countries and supported their development. As the KP has made life harder for criminals, it has brought large volumes of diamonds onto the legal market that would not otherwise have made it there. This has increased the revenues of poor governments, and helped them to address their countries' development challenges. For instance, some $125 million worth of diamonds were legally exported from Sierra Leone in 2006, compared to almost none at the end of the 1990s.

In 2006, a review of the KP confirmed its effectiveness, and recommended a number of actions to further strengthen the system in areas such as monitoring of implementation and strengthening internal controls in participating countries, as well as greater transparency in the gathering of statistical data.  The Committee on KPCS Review was mandated in November 2011 to conduct a new review of the core objectives, core definitions, and functioning of the Kimberley Process during 2012-2013.

*Above information comes from the Kimberley Process website.  For more information go to: http://www.kimberleyprocess.com/web/kimberley-process/home