THE KIMBERLEY PROCESS
The Kimberley Process (KP) is the international forum dedicated to eradicating conflict diamonds from the world trade. It is a tripartite coalition involving governments, industry and civil society.
There currently are 56 Government Participants, representing 82 countries, with the European Union and member states counting as a single Participant, represented by the European Commission.
Only the Government Participants hold decision-making rights within the KP, where resolutions need to be passed by absolute consensus. Industry and civil society are considered Observers, but they participate in all KP’s working groups and committees.
The World Diamond Council (WDC) is the diamond industry’s representative in the KP.
HISTORY OF THE KIMBERLEY PROCESS
The KP was established in May 2000, when representatives of diamond-producing states, industry and civil society met in Kimberley, South Africa, to discuss ways to end the trade in diamonds that were financing civil conflicts in Africa. The goal of the meeting was to collectively consider methods of ensuring that sales of rough diamonds could not fund violent activities by rebel movements and their allies seeking to undermine legitimate governments.
In December 2000, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a landmark resolution supporting the creation of an international certification scheme for rough diamonds, and by November 2002 successful negotiations within the KP resulted in the creation of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).
The KPCS came into force on January 1, 2003, when Participant countries began to implement its rules. Before then, each Participant country or region had been required to approve the necessary legislation and regulations that allowed for the implementation of the system in their territories.
While it recognized that controls may differ from country to country, the KP insisted that the legal structure created in each Participant country would ensure that rough diamonds can be traced at every step of the supply chain from mine to export, or from import to re-export. To facilitate this, Participants are required to designate KP Authorities, and collect information on the production of rough diamonds within their territory, as well data relating to the import and export of rough merchandise.
The KP Plenary in session in Washington, D.C., USA, in November 2012.
Participants at the KP Plenary in session in Brussels, Belgium, in November 2018.
The KP Plenary in session in New Delhi, India, in November 2019.
KIMBERLEY PROCESS CERTIFICATION SCHEME
The KPCS is a system designed to ensure that rough diamonds moving though the legitimate chain of distribution do not include stones associated with conflict. Essentially, it is a certification-of-origin mechanism, which requiries Participants to certify that shipments of rough diamonds leaving their borders are “conflict-free.”
Under terms set by the KP, Participants implementing the KPCS must meet “minimum requirements,” which include the enacting of national legislation and/or regulations; establishing the necessary institutions; imposing export, import and internal controls; and committing to transparency and the exchange of statistical data.
Members of the diamond industry in KP Participant countries can only trade legally with members of the industry other Participant countries that have also met the minimum requirements of the scheme. International shipments of rough diamonds must be accompanied by a KP certificate, issued by an authorized KP Authority, guaranteeing that they are conflict-free.
Countries that will not or cannot meet these requirements are subject to KP sanctions, and the diamond trade with this country may be frozen or restricted until the sanctions are withdrawn. If a country does not comply with a sanctions regime, it may be expelled from the KP.
If any rough diamonds examined by customs officials throughout world are discovered not to be accompanied by proper KP documentation, they are seized by the relevant country and all KP participants are alerted.
STRUCTURE OF THE KIMBERLEY PROCESS
The KP is governed by the Chair, who is an official appointed by the government of a designated Participant country. Heading and directing the management of the KP administration, the Chair serves for a full calendar year, starting on January 1, and oversees the worldwide implementation of the KPCS, as well as the operations of the KP working groups and committees. Each year, the KP Chair hosts an Intersessional meeting and a Plenary meeting.
At the beginning of the following calendar year, the position of Chair is assumed by the outgoing KP Vice Chair, who was earlier selected by the KP Participants.
In 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the transition from one KP Chair to the next was suspended for a year, and neither the Intersessional nor Plenary meeting were held.
At the KP Plenary meeting in November 2012, the establishment of an Administrative Support Mechanism (AMS) was approved, to provide ongoing logistic and managerial assistance to the KP Chair and officers. Beginning operations in 2013, the AMS has been since operated and financed by the WDC.
Much of the ongoing work of the KP takes place within its working groups and committees. These include:
Working Group of Diamond Experts (WGDE)
Chaired by the WDC, WGDE is a technical working group, charged with providing solutions to technical challenges and problems in the implementation of the KPCS.
Working Group on Monitoring (WGM)
The WGM deals with issues relating to the implementation of the KPCS. It is responsible for the peer-review mechanism, organizing review visits in participating countries, as well as conducting assessments of annual reports submitted by KP participants.
Working Group on Statistics (WGS)
The WGS ensures timely reporting and analysis of statistical data on the production and trade of rough diamonds from all KP-member countries, with the aim of being able to identify anomalies and ensure the effective implementation of the KPCS.
Working Group on Artisanal and Alluvial Production (WGAAP)
WGAAP is charged with developing effective internal controls on the production and trade of alluvial diamonds, enabling artisanal and small-scale diamond miners obtain legal access into the chain of distribution. Its work reflects the growing role of the KP in capacity-building in member countries.
Committee on Participation and Chairmanship (CPC)
CPC assists the Chair of the Kimberley Process in handling the admission of new participants, and it consults in cases of non-compliance by other participants. CPC is headed by the previous year’s KP Chair.
Committee on Rules and Procedures (CRP)
CRP helps develop the rules and procedures within the KPCS, as well as making recommendations to the Chair of the Kimberley Process regarding compliance with them.
Central African Republic Monitoring Team
In 2013, the KP embargoed exports of rough diamonds from the Central African Republic (CAR) after rebels seized control of the country. In July 2015, the organization agreed that CAR could resume exports, as long as it established “green zones” compliant with KP rules, from where they could originate. The CAR Monitoring team was established to oversee the legal exports of diamonds from these areas.