Honorable KP Chair Mr. Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Honorable KP Vice-Chair Mr. Robert Owen–Jones, distinguished delegates and guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
On behalf of the World Diamond Council, I want to once again thank the UAE and Mr. Ahmed bin Sulayem personally, for organizing this Plenary Session and for the fruitful work he has carried out as the KP Chair.
We live in a world that changes fast and requires us to adapt quickly to new conditions and challenges. I'm glad to see that the Kimberley Process continues to evolve. This week we looked for new working methods and new ways of organizing processes. And we do it for one purpose only – to protect the true brilliance of our product and industry.
WDC welcomes the initiative of the KP Chair to implement the Special forums mechanism on the sidelines of the KP meetings. These are new events that allow KP members and Observers to come together to discuss issues that are not directly related to the KPCS, but are still of significant importance to the entire diamond industry.
We also support the initiatives of the UAE aimed at improving the work of the Kimberley Process and seeking maximum engagement of all three parties in the KP activities. At the same time, we believe it is necessary to work further on key initiatives such as the establishment of a Permanent Secretariat and an independent Fund for financing the participation of NGOs.
The joint efforts of all KP members and Observers as well as the will to listen to each other, allows us to achieve our goals.
WDC welcomes the readmission of Venezuela to full membership in the KP and appreciates the organization's ability to step away from political differences and aim for consensus on this issue. We also want to thank the Central African Republic for the very positive meeting we had with them yesterday within the CAR Monitoring team. We are confident that you will fully join the ranks of the KP soon. We encourage and applaud the dialogue you have created with your neighboring countries and your perseverance to sustain a conflict-free trade in your country.
Knowledge is of no value, unless you put it into practice. This collaboration to bring CAR back into the fold is a prime example of what the KP can accomplish when we work together. Deeper involvement is what is needed today, from all of us. Diamond business determines the economic welfare of many countries and people. Today international diamond market is facing numerous new challenges and our industry needs support. We must be balanced and objective in decision-making and accurate in our common estimations and projections. We need to structure processes even better and pay more attention to informing and educating stakeholders.
As the industry’s voice, WDC will continue its mission to further protect the integrity and reputation of the Kimberly Process. Promoting the KP to the main stakeholders and public. Creating an understandable supply chain transparency, is one of the main aspects of the WDC Strategic Plan, adopted in April 2016.
This week we hosted our first Observers Forum in attendance of DDI and ADPA, and we look forward to continuing these meetings and the dialogue they create on a regular basis.
In light of the upcoming review of the KPCS, starting early next year, we plan to submit our proposals for improving the effectiveness and sustainability of the KPCS, very soon.
On behalf of the industry, I welcome Australia as the KP Chair for 2017 and look forward to its active role in strengthening the KPCS and its tripartite structure and consensus among the KP members and Observers.
My congratulations go out to the EU and India as well, with their election as the KP Vice-chairs. We believe a consensus choice of two Vice-presidents for 2017 and 2018 at one meeting to be an extremely important precedent. It will allow the KP to look ahead even further, empowering the stability and consistency of the organization.
Last, but certainly not least, we want to express our gratitude to the entire KP family for their trust and appreciation of the work already done by WDC as the chair of the WGDE. We were very honored by the re-election of WDC’s Mark van Bockstael as Chairman of the group, for the next period. We encourage all KP members to use the same constructive approach, and find a consensus in the framework of the ongoing process of electing the Chairs and Vice-chairs of the KP working bodies.
This week’s Plenary has been filled with constructive dialogue and fruitful collaboration. I want to thank all of you for that, and I look forward to successfully continue on the path of positive changes, that we started to pave.