Dear friends,

This fourth and final edition of the WDC News Update for 2019 is being released some two and half weeks after the close of the 2019 Kimberley Process (KP) Plenary Meeting in New Delhi, India. It provides a well-timed opportunity to wrap up what has been a year of intensive work for the World Diamond Council (WDC) within the KP, and to take look at where we go from here.

As the lead article in this newsletter describes in detail, the Plenary Meeting did not produce all the results that WDC would have liked, particularly as a result of member countries’ inability to reach consensus on a strengthened scope for the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) through an expansion the definition of conflict diamonds. The consequence of this is that the system will continue not to cover all acts of unacceptable violence that are associated with diamond-production today.

But WDC’s takeaway from the Plenary Meeting in New Delhi differs substantially from certain comments voiced in recent days, which have questioned the very relevance of the KP itself. Let us not kid ourselves. There is no alternative to the KP, which historically has shown itself to be an enterprise of unprecedented effectiveness, both in terms of its structure and its ability to prevent violence. By helping bring an end to a string of civil wars, it almost certainly can be credited with saving thousands of lives.

Simply stated, one does not remove a proven safety net because it is not as comprehensively effective as one would like. One works to improve the performance of that safety net, and that is what WDC is committed to doing.

As we have shown throughout the three-year review and reform process that has now ended, WDC will continue to press hard for meaningful change within the KP, and at the same time will work independently to ensure that the safeguards we seek are implemented in the supply chain. Our revised System of Warranties, which has a scope that is significantly broader that of the KPCS, is a key component of this approach.

Another article in this newsletter concentrates on the additional work that took place at the Plenary Meeting in New Delhi, some of which was also related to the process of review and reform, but a good deal more to other pressing matters. There is a tendency by some to focus on criticism of the KP, while overlooking the fact that the body’s various working groups deal with a myriad of issues, from monitoring exports from the Central African Republic (CAR), to capacity building in artisanal mining areas to maintaining the most comprehensive global statistics of rough diamond production. This work, which continues around the clock, is a vital for the wellbeing of our industry and for the literally millions of individuals dependent on the revenues it generates.

A third article in the newsletter considers the implications of the decision taken at the KP Plenary to restructure the system by which KPCS-compliant rough diamonds from CAR are exported. Several days ago, the WDC released a statement urging members of the industry to practice increased vigilance when purchasing rough diamonds whose source is believed to be the CAR. The article provides greater context to the ongoing situation.

As we have done in the first three edition of the newsletter, we once again look at the efforts of WDC members to improve the lives of individuals and communities in areas where our industry is active. This time we focus on India, where more than nine out of every 10 diamonds are cut and polished. There, the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) is developing an industry-supported social security system, though which it plans to bring comprehensive healthcare and other benefits to some 5 million people.

As 2019 draws to a close and a new decade waits in the wings, I would like to thank the office holders, the board of directors, the various committees and WDC members for their hard work and commitment on behalf of our industry and its great many stakeholders all over the world.

Let me wish all of you an enjoyable holiday season and a happy, healthy and successful New Year.

Stephane Fischler
WDC President
December 2019

From the series