MESSAGE FROM THE WDC PRESIDENT
This third edition of the WDC News Update is being released during the short period of time between the World Diamond Council’s Annual General Meeting, which took place in Antwerp, on October 2 and 3, 2019, and the 2019 Kimberley Process Plenary, which will be held in New Delhi, November 18-22, 2019.
During this critical seven-week period, discussions continue over how consensus may be reached among KP members about reforming the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), and more specifically how its scope may be strengthened so that it covers rough diamonds associated with types of grave and systemic violence prevalent today in certain diamond-mining areas.
As we note in our article covering the AGM, although the gathering took place in Belgium, where it was most hospitably and generously hosted by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), much of our attention was focused on India, and the critical meeting that will be taking place in the country’s capital in just about a month from now. As the end of the KP’s three-year review and reform period approaches, pressure is mounting on the organization to achieve the type of progress that reasonably will be considered satisfactory by all participants. WDC has made its position crystal clear, particularly in respect to the definition of “conflict diamonds,” as it appears in the KP documents, which we believe needs to strengthened so that it better reflects the changes that have taken on ground in the years since the KPCS first was first formulated.
As we also note in our report on the discussions in Antwerp, WDC has already expanded the scope of our System of Warranties (SoW), extending the reach of the KPSC through the whole supply chain.
But that is not the only way that the SoW goes beyond the KPCS’s scope, for its terms of reference also mention international conventions on human and labor rights, Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and anti-corruption. The SOW will be a strong focus of our activity over the coming year, as we roll out a dedicated toolkit to assist in their implementation.
The continuing presence of conflict diamonds in the Central African Republic (CAR) has received a good deal of media attention of late, underscoring the embargo of rough diamond exports from that country with the exception of KPCS-certified goods, which have been sourced from a limited number of “green” zones that meet KP’s operational framework standards. An article in the newsletter sheds light on the situation in the country, and the KP monitoring regime that was put in place, of which WDC is part.
As we approach the 20th anniversary of the creation of the KP, we look back to the early days, and in particular to the absolutely central role played by one WDC representative, Mark Van Bockstael, who until the end of last year served as Chair of the KP’s Working Group of Diamond Experts.
We also continue our series that looks at capacity-building projects initiated by WDC member in countries and regions where the diamond industry is active. This time, the member being highlighted is ALROSA.