Since the Kimberley Process (KP) launched its Certification Scheme in January 2003, it has seen some notable achievements. The KP has helped bring improved governance and transparency to the trade, particularly in countries that were previously marked by conflict. It has fostered improved monitoring in the vast range of producing, trading, and consuming countries; and it has also been a platform for focusing on diamond-related socio-economic development, particularly in artisanal mining communities.
But the Kimberley Process needs to be updated to reflect today’s realities, and to address the full range of concerns that consumers in the U.S. and elsewhere have about the diamond trade. During our chairmanship of the process this year, the United States will be taking numerous steps to strengthen and improve implementation of the KP’s certification scheme. During the Intersessional meeting this week, there were special sessions that focused on artisanal mining, strengthening enforcement measures and internal controls, and other initiatives concerning natural resources. These exchanges provided examples of a number of best practices including some that could be applied to our efforts to update the KP, and contribute to improved sustainable development outcomes.
As we have stated previously, it is imperative that the term “conflict diamond” encompass today’s and tomorrow’s challenges adequately, and respond to the expectations of modern consumers. Currently, the term “conflict” that provides the foundation for the Kimberley Process mandate- namely situations involving rebel movements seeking to overthrow legitimate governments – specifically reflects concerns in the years leading up to the KP founding in 2003. It must now be updated to reflect the challenges of today and tomorrow. To achieve this, we proposed that the definition of “conflict diamond” used within the KP’s certification scheme should be modified to cover “rough diamonds used to finance, or otherwise directly related to, armed conflict or other situations of violence.” This would incorporate situations of violence perpetrated by other actors besides rebel movements. We look forward to continuing to work with our colleagues within the KP to achieve these and other reforms during 2012.