The Brabo Fountain, the central attraction in the Grote Markt, the main square in Antwerp’s Old City.

The membership of the World Diamond Council (WDC) will be gathering in the Belgian diamond center of Antwerp on October 2 and 3, 2019, for the organization’s Annual General Meeting. Hosting this year’s event will be the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), the umbrella body representing all participants in the country’s diamond sector.

Formally, WDC AGMs provide the forum at which the organization’s officers report on the association’s activities within the context of the Kimberley Process (KP), its finances and its plans for the coming year.  But, as the only formal event held annually at which the greater membership is present, the AGM provides an opportunity for open discussion and strategizing about the role of the WDC and its members in the international diamond sector.

A key agenda item this year will be finalization of a toolkit for the implementation of the WDC’s revised System of Warranties (SoW), which formally were approved in June 2018 by the body’s Board of Directors.

Like the original version of the SoW, the revised version requires B2B buyers and sellers of rough diamonds, polished diamonds and jewelry containing diamonds to include a statement on all invoices and memos that the goods in question being sold are in compliance with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS). However, the SoW now also includes a commitment that the buyers and sellers adhere to WDC Guidelines, which support universally accepted principles of human and labor rights, anti-corruption and anti-money laundering. Specifically, the guidelines reference the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the UN Convention Against Corruption, and national AML guidelines compliant with the FAFT’s 40 Recommendations on Money Laundering for Dealers in Precious Metals and Stones.

The toolkit that will be discussed at the AGM is based on self-assessment questionnaires, which will assist members of the industry in properly evaluating their level of compliance, taking into consideration where in the diamond and jewelry value chain they are involved, and whether they are already compliant with other due diligence systems, like that of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC).

Other items to be discussed include a strengthening of WDC’s value proposition, its relationships and increased collaboration with the Kimberley Process, governments, international organizations, civil society and other industry organizations, and the degree to which the KP and WDC are able to positively impact the confidence of consumers and other stakeholders in diamonds and the diamond industry.

The official venue of WDC’s 2019 AGM is the DIVA Museum, the world’s largest such facility dedicated to diamonds and jewelry. Opened in 2018 in Antwerp’s historic old city, it is located at Suikerrui 17-19.

The AGM will be bookended by two meetings of the WDC Board of Directors, with the first taking place during the afternoon of October 2 at the AWDC, and the second during the afternoon of October 3 at the DIVA Museum. A gala dinner will be held during the evening of October 3.

The Port House, the administrative headquarters of  the Antwerp Port, which is Europe’s second largest seaport. Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, it features a superstructure depicting a polished diamond.

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