First U.S. Kimberley Process Review Visit Takes Place

A six-person international delegation representing the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme met in late June with the U.S. government and the diamond and jewelry industry for the first U.S. Peer Review. Each participating country in the Kimberley Process has agreed in principle to host a review team to assess implementation of the requirements of the KPCS. Eighteen reviews have already taken place, including the visit to the United States.

A three-day meeting held June 28–30 in New York and Washington focused on how the government and the industry were complying with both the government-regulated KPCS and the voluntary System of Warranties that underpins the government program, which was introduced by the World Diamond Council.

The KPCS delegation was composed of members from three Kimberley Process participants, the World Diamond Council, and nongovernmental organizations. They included: team leader Sergei Oulin, vice president, Alrosa, representing the Russian Federation; Sergey Panchekhin, member of the Secretariat, Kimberley Process; Jacqueline Lenka, chief diamond inspector, South Africa Diamond Board; Clive Wright, first secretary, British Embassy representing the EU; Yair Cohen, managing director, Israel Diamond Exchange, representing the WD Council; and Ian Smillie, Partnership Africa Canada representing NGOs.

The U.S. Kimberley Process Authority hosted the meeting at the New York Diamond Dealers Club. The USKPA, along with the federal government, is responsible for oversight of trade compliance with the Kimberley Process in regard to the export of diamond rough from the United States. The three directors of the USKPA are chairman Martin Hochbaum of the Diamond Dealers Club; general counsel Cecilia Gardner, JVC; and secretary Mark Gershburg, Gemological Science International.

The Peer Review Agenda included an overview of USKPA procedures by Gardner and a presentation by Jewelers of America president Matthew Runci on the trade initiatives to ensure the System of Warranties. The Peer Review also included a visit with U.S. Customs at JFK Airport to have a firsthand look at the operations for the import and export of rough.

The Kimberley Process was established by governments, industry, and NGOs to control the export and import of rough diamonds across borders in order to eliminate traffic in conflict diamonds. It went into effect on Jan. 1, 2003. At present there are more than 40 participants, plus the EU.

For more information about the Kimberley Process and the voluntary System of Warranties, contact Martin Hochbaum at the Diamond Industry Steering Committee at (212) 869-9777, or visit www.kimberleyprocess.com or www.jewelers.org.