The Kimberley Process (KP) is an international forum dedicated to eliminating conflict diamonds from the global trade. By its definition, conflict diamonds are rough diamonds used by rebel groups to finance wars against legitimate governments.
Established in 2000 and endorsed by the UN General Assembly and Security Council, the KP brings together governments, industry, and civil society, with government Participants holding decision-making authority, while industry and civil society are Observers. The World Diamond Council represents the diamond industry in the KP.
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) is the mechanism used by the KP to prevent the trade of conflict diamonds. Launched in 2003, it is enforced individually by KP Participant countries to ensure that rough diamonds in the legitimate supply chain are KP-compliant.
Within the framework of the KPCS, trade in rough diamonds can only be conducted between industry members in KP Participant countries, and government-sanctioned KP Authorities certify KP-compliant stones leaving their borders. International shipments of rough diamonds are monitored when they enter a KP Participant country, to ensure that they are accompanied by an official KP certificate.
Customs officials can seize rough diamonds lacking proper KP documentation, triggering alerts to all KP participants. KP Participant countries must meet specific minimum requirements, including enacting national legislation, establishing controlling authorities, and embracing transparency and data exchange. Failure to comply can lead to sanctions or expulsion from the KP.
The KP was established in May 2000 to prevent revenues from the sale of rough diamonds from funding civil conflicts in Africa. In December 2000, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution supporting an international certification scheme, leading to the development of the KPCS, which was launched on January 1, 2003.
Prior to that, all Participant countries were required to enact legislation to enable its implementation. Within five years of its launch, the KPCS reduced conflict diamonds from more than 4% of rough goods traded to fewer than 0.2%.