Brussels, 12 November 2009
Kimberley Process Plenary meeting further strengthens international efforts to combat trade with conflict diamonds
The Kimberley Process Plenary meeting was held in Swakopmund (Namibia) from 2 to 5 November 2009 and adopted important decisions to enhance the international fight against conflict diamonds. The participants of the Kimberley Process notably reviewed the situation in the Marange diamond mining area of Zimbabwe, in light of non-compliance with the requirements of the Kimberley Process and reports of violence and human rights violations. A work plan was agreed with Zimbabwe providing for necessary actions to bring diamond mining in Marange into compliance with the Kimberley Process. The implementation of the work plan will be closely monitored, and exports of Marange diamonds will be subject to prior verification of compliance. In addition, the Kimberley Process Plenary adopted key decisions concerning the cooperation on enforcement of the rules, and decided to pursue monitoring of ‘conflict diamonds’ from Côte d’Ivoire in light of UNSC resolution 1893 (2009).
The European Community (EC) fully endorses the decisions adopted at the Kimberley Process' Swakopmund Plenary meeting, and in particular the KP decision and action plan agreed to address Zimbabwe's non-compliance in the Marange mining area. Zimbabwe's commitment to undertake a series of ambitious actions to bring diamond mining in Marange in compliance with the minimum requirements and to subject exports of Marange diamonds to independent verification pending full compliance is a welcome step.
At the same time the EC strongly urges Zimbabwe to start implementation of the action plan without delay and underlines the importance attached to Zimbabwe devoting significant effort and resources to that effect before the next Plenary . Zimbabwe needs to devote substantial effort and resources to that effect. The EC will actively contribute to the monitoring of the action plan as a key element to protect the integrity of the Kimberley Process and ensure that Marange diamonds contribute to Zimbabwe's economic development and do not fuel further violence and human rights violations. The EC further calls on the Kimberley Process participants to improve regional cooperation and implement international vigilance measures in order to contain the flow of illicit diamonds from Marange.
In addition, the EC also welcomes adoption of a decision to enhance cooperation on enforcement, as well as the decision to increase oversight of Guinea's diamond production and trade.
Furthermore, the EC fully supports the continuing engagement and monitoring of diamond production in Côte d'Ivoire, in light of UN Security Council Resolution 1893 (2009).
The Democratic Republic of Congo has been selected as 2011 Kimberley Process Chair.
The Kimberley Process grew out of discussions in May 2000 in Kimberley, South Africa among interested governments, the international diamond industry and civil society, as a unique initiative to combat ‘conflict diamonds’ – rough diamonds used to finance devastating conflicts in some of Africa’s diamond-producing countries. In November 2002, an agreement was reached on the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS): an innovative system imposing extensive requirements on all Participants to control all imports and exports of rough diamonds and to put in place rigorous internal controls over production and trade to ensure that conflict diamonds could not enter the legal diamond trade. In a few years, the Kimberley Process has helped to reduce the amount of conflict diamonds to a tiny fraction of world trade. The Kimberley Process is backed by the United Nations; and the General Assembly renewed its support most recently in December 2008.
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme now has 49 Participants (equalling 75 countries with the European Community counting as a single Participant), including all major diamond producing, trading and polishing centres, and counts on the active participation of civil society and industry groups.
To ensure the effectiveness of the Kimberley Process, its requirements – including effective internal controls over diamond production and trade – must be applied in full by all Participants. The Kimberley Process has developed a number of tools to enable assessment of implementation and to address any issues which may arise. These tools include regular statistical reporting, annual reports and other compliance verification measures, such as review missions to participants where there are ‘credible indications of significant non-compliance’.
In Nov. 2008, the Government of Zimbabwe launched operation ‘Hakudzwoki’ (no return), deploying considerable military resources to take control of the Marange diamond fields. Operation Hakudzowki was publicly associated in the press with reports of violence and human rights abuses, which have been denied by the Government. In response to developments in Marange the KP adopted a double-track approach, developing specific measures to contain the flow of illicit diamonds (international vigilance and regional cooperation against smuggling), and responding to reports of smuggling and violence (public statement expressing ‘growing concerns at the reports of violence and indications of smuggling in the Marange mining area’, sending of a KP High-level envoy in March 2009). A KP review mission visited Zimbabwe in July 2009 and concluded on ‘indications of serious non-compliance’ with KP requirements, raising questions as to Zimbabwe’s position in the KP. The KP Plenary in Swakopmund reviewed the situation and discussed Zimbabwe’s plans to bring mining in Marange into compliance with KP requirements.
For further details on EU and Kimberley Process: