WDC calls for effective KP peer review guidelines

The World Diamond Council released a statement that strongly urges the governments of all nations participating in the Kimberley Process to adopt “credible and effective measures for peer review” when they convene for the next Plenary of the KP in Sun City, South Africa, October 29-31. The WDC will participate in the upcoming session in its official capacity as KP observer.

“It is absolutely vital that a peer review regime be devised that insures the public and consumers alike that the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme for cross border trade in rough diamonds is working precisely as its framers originally intended in order to stop the trade in conflict diamonds,” Eli Izhakoff, chairman and CEO of the WDC said in a statement. “Effective peer review is critical to the credibility of the system because monitoring of government controls on cross-border trade will verify compliance with KPCS measures. This credibility is essential if we are to safeguard against conflict diamonds and if the reputation of diamonds as a consumer good is to be protected.”

Izhakoff says resources already available to the KPCS chair to conduct reviews should be brought to bear progressively on those situations where indications of non-compliance warrant closer examination. Recourse to scrutiny, including review missions, in situations where there are credible indications of serious non-compliance, must be available and be applied as frequently as circumstances warrant.

WDC concurs that essential elements in an effective peer review mechanism should include a range of measures, including a standard formulation of annual reporting by KP participants, systematic coordinated analysis of all information submitted by participants, requests for additional information and clarification, and the dispatch of review missions where there are credible indications of significant non-compliance with the certification scheme. Review of KPCS implementation by all participants must be conducted in full accordance with national law, on an equal and non-discriminatory basis and, with particular emphasis on those cases where there are such indications.

In addition, WDC says KPCS should address capacity building among participants for purposes of improving systems for implementing KPCS, indicating areas where technical assistance may be needed, and making possible early appraisals of new Participants. System wide, then, this process will permit the KPCS to improve though the adoption of “best practice” compliance techniques developed during the cumulative course of many reviews.