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Kimberley Process Certification Scheme



  The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme , popularly known as KPCS is a process designed to certify the origin of rough diamonds from sources which are free of conflict.[1] The process was established in 2003 to prevent rebel groups and their rivals from financing their war aims from diamond sales. The certification scheme aims at preventing these "blood diamonds" from entering the mainstream rough diamond market. It was set up with the aim of assuring the consumers that by purchasing diamonds they were not financing war and human rights abuses.

Additional recommended knowledge

Contents

Establishment of KPCS

The KPCS originated from a meeting of Southern African diamond producing states in Kimberley, Northern Cape in May 2000. It may be noted that in December 2000, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution supporting the creation of an international certification scheme for rough diamonds, and every year since the General Assembly has renewed its support for the KP - most recently in December 2006.
In order for a country to be a participant, it must ensure

  1. that any diamond originating from the country does not finance a rebel group or other entity seeking to overthrow a UN-recognized government.
  2. that every diamond export be accompanied by a Kimberley Process certificate proving (1).
  3. that no diamond is imported from, or exported to, a non-member of the scheme.

This three-step plan is a simple description of the steps taken to ensure a "chain" of countries that deal exclusively with non-conflict diamonds. Details can be found in the official KPCS document linked in the external links section below.

Working Procedure

The KPCS is essentially a self-enforced mechanism. Supervision of the process is done by the Chair, elected on an annual basis at a plenary meeting. A Working Group on Monitoring monitors each participant to ensure that it is implementing the scheme correctly. The Working Group reports to the Chair. Other working groups include the Technical Working Group (or Working Group of Diamond Experts) which reports on difficulties in implementation and proposed solutions, and the Statistics Working Group, which reports diamond trading data. The Participation Committee reports to the Chair on its recommendations on proposed members hoping to join the KPCS. The Selection Committee reports on its recommendations on who should be the next Vice-Chair. After a year of being Vice-Chair, the successful candidate becomes the Chair.

Whilst the Process has been broadly welcomed by groups aiming to improve human rights in countries previously affected by conflict diamonds, such as Angola, some say it does not go far enough. For instance, Amnesty International says "[We] welcome the Kimberley Process as an important step to dealing with the problem of conflict diamonds. But until the diamond trade is subject to mandatory, impartial monitoring, there is still no effective guarantee that all conflict diamonds will be identified and removed from the market." Canadian aid group One Sky (funded in part by the Canadian government) concurs with Amnesty's view saying "If effectively implemented, the Kimberley Process will ensure that diamonds cannot be used to finance war and atrocities... However, without a system of expert, independent and periodic reviews of all countries, the overall process remains open to abuse." An example of abuse would be smuggling conflict diamonds into a certified facility or country. The German group medico international started together with other European NGOs the campaign Fatal Transactions on the financing of African conflicts through diamonds.

Another form of criticism is whether the Kimberley process is realistically enforceable. There are many factors that can jeopardize the "Officialdom of certificates and paperwork" [2] from lack of enforcement on the ground to the secrecy in the diamond trading centers such as Antwerp.

A serious potential flaw in the scheme is that there is no mechanism by which to ensure that jewelers only sell diamonds which have been Kimberley certified. However, most major firms operating in the UK have now at least expressed support for the Kimberley process, a major exception being the celebrity jewelers, Theo Fennell, which since it specializes in jewellery featuring diamonds too small even to be graded, has given rise to speculation that Theo Fennell's sources may include significant quantities of conflict diamonds, or even consist entirely of them.

Working Groups

KPCS has established a number of working groups for carrying out its programmes. These are: Working Group of Diamond Experts (WGDE), Working Group on Monitoring (WGM), Working Group on Statistics (WGS) , Working Group of Artisanal Alluvial Producers (WGAAP). There is also a Coordinator for Technical Assistance.

Current Membership

As of November 2007, as many as 48 countries are participating in KPCS. The new entrants are Turkey and Liberia, in addition to Congo which has been re-admitted in 2007. It may be noted that Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt, Mali, Mexico and Tunisia attended the Brussels Plenary 2007 and affirmed their intention to join the Kimberley Process. Also, Bahrain, Cape Verde, Gabon, Swaziland and Zambia have expressed their interest in future participation. Latest information may obtained from KPCS official website [3].

Waiver

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) in December 2006 approved a waiver for the KPCS while recognising the importance and effectiveness of the KPCS.

Success

The KPCS has been able to bring most of the world's rough diamond trade under its control. Within only few years it has asserted an effective body of global governance. It has been estimated that trade outside KPCS has become significantly low.

Statistics

KPCS emphasizes collecting and publishing data relating to actual mining and international trade in diamonds. Member countries are required to officially submit statistics that can be verified through audit. Also, all member countries are required to produce and submit an Annual Report on the trade in diamond. According to the Working Group on Statistics (WGS) of KPCS, in 2006, the KPCS monitored $35.7 billion in rough diamond exports representing more than 480 million carats. The number of Certificates issued by KPCS members was 55,000.

Peer Review

In 2003 KPCS initiated a process of peer review of implementation of KPCS in different countries. Nominated by the governments, experts form a team to visit KPCS countries and inspect implementation of the scheme. According to the Working Group on Monitoring (WGM) of KPCS the Kimberley Process has completed the first round of peer review visits in 2007 with more than 50 on the ground inspection visits conducted to Participants and applicants since 2003.

Annual Report

Annual Report by all KPCS members is a very important componenet of Peer Review mechanism established by KPCS.

Expulsion

In 2004, Congo-Brazzaville was removed from the scheme because it was found unable to prove the origin of its gems, most of which were believed to have come from the neighboring Congo-Kinshasa. For countries economically dependent on diamond exports, this can be a substantial punishment, as it disallows trade with much of the rest of the world. However, Congo's membership in the KPCS was reinstated in the Plenary of 2007.

Brussels Plenary 2007

Kimberley Process Plenary of 2007 (the 5th Plenary) was held in Brussels on 05 - 08 November 2007, under the chair of the European Commission. 73 participants, including governments, NGOs and private business representing 47 countries participated, including UN, ADPA, Mali, Egypt, World Diamond Council and Partnership Africa Canada. India was elected chair for 2008. Brussels Plenary emphasized adding a development dimension to KPCS so that the mining and trade in diamond in low income countries could be utilized for development of the country and reduciton of poverty of its people. More than 300 delegates partcipated in the plenary. Important decisions include re-admission of the Republic of Congo and a programme for improving regional cooperation on rough diamonds from Cote d'Ivoire. It endorsed the Brussels Declaration on internal controls of KPCS participants with rough diamond trading and manufacturing. [1]

Namibia

Namibia will work as the vice-chair of KPCS in 2008 and it will be the chair for 2009.

Global Witness

Global Witness is a Canada based NGO that oversees the working of the KPCS. [4]

References

  1. ^ The Kimberley Process World Diamond Council Website - Diamondfacts.org, accessed November 6, 2006
  2. ^ National Geographic documentary on blood diamonds, accessed December 19, and also "Kimberley Process: appeasement in the diamond trade by leading gemological experts
  3. ^ http://www.kimberleyprocess.com/
  4. ^ http://www.globalwitness.org
 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Kimberley_Process_Certification_Scheme". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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