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Global diamond industry gears up for crucial reforms

26 June 2018


Diamond industry stakeholders are preparing to undertake a crucial reform agenda for the Kimberley Process (KP) to answer ever-changing demands by today’s consumers.

Antwerp recently hosted the KP Intersessional meeting from June 19 to 22 where diamond manufacturers, traders and civil society members discussed pertinent issues in the global diamond trade. 

The European Union (EU), which took over chairmanship of the KP this year, was at the forefront of discussions, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) said.

Under the EU leadership, the KP is gearing up for an ambitious reform agenda with three priorities: A “deepening” of the KP, which involves reinforcing the system of controls and the transformation of KP recommendations into minimum requirements; an expansion of the KP by broadening the definition of conflict diamonds; and professionalisation of the KP by, among others, establishing a permanent KP secretariat.

“During the KP Intersessional, participants and observers engaged in a thorough discussion of the reform agenda in order to lay the foundation for decisions that will be taken during the KP Plenary meeting at the end of the year. Taking place in Brussels in November, it is hoped that it will be the start of the KP 2.0, fit for purpose to contemporary challenges,” noted AWDC.

Established in 2003, the KP was aimed at eliminating conflict diamonds within the diamond trade. Since its inception, the amount of conflict diamonds infiltrating the trade has declined to 0.2 percent from an estimated 10 percent.

But with changing consumer demands such as buyers placing greater importance on the socio-economic value of diamonds, the KP needs to adapt accordingly and broaden its mandate. At the KP Intersessional, participants “declared themselves ready for the broadening of the definition of conflict diamonds,” AWDC said.

Furthermore, the global diamond industry – in support of the KP – has developed its own standards years ago to ensure that diamonds are mined and traded in an ethical and transparent manner. The Responsible Jewellery Council, the Diamond Development Initiative and the World Diamond Council’s updated System of Warranties are examples of this effort, it added.