Representatives of the U.S. Department of State and the European Union met informally today with leaders of the international diamond and jewelry sectors at the State Department, in Washington, DC, to discuss the state of engagement between governments and the diamond and jewelry industries moving forward.
The meeting was arranged at the invitation of Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Jose W. Fernandez, who led the U.S. Government delegation during the discussion. The EU delegation was led by Genoveva Ruiz-Calavera, Head of the Unit for Crisis Response and Peace Building of the European Commission. The group of diamond and jewelry industry leaders was led by Eli Izhakoff, President of the World Diamond Council.
Participants in the meeting discussed increasing challenges the industry faces in how it responds to concerns regarding the practices underlying its supply chain. Participants acknowledged these challenges are most pronounced in the way the industry meets expectations in key consuming markets, necessitating this type of dialogue between industry and government.
Following this discussion, a separate meeting was convened with representatives of the current Kimberley Process Chair (the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and the Kimberley Process Vice-Chair for 2012 (South Africa). This meeting focused on the state of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme in light of recent developments and emphasized the commitment of all to the KP and the need for continued progress and cooperation among all stakeholders. The United States will serve as KP Chair in 2012.