Kimberley Process Meeting Makes Breakthroughs

Both nongovernmental organizations and the diamond industry were happy after making progress at the recent Kimberley Process plenary, especially on whether to publish diamond statistics.

Among the big issues was the fate of Ghana, which a recent United Nations report called a conduit for conflict diamonds smuggled from Ivory Coast.

“The Plenary concluded that there may be credible indications that Ghana has not complied with its Kimberley Process obligations,” said the final communiqué. “The Plenary decided that Ghana must take immediate steps to ensure that Ghana export only Ghanaian diamonds. The Plenary agreed to send a review mission to Ghana in three months.”

Most NGOs wanted tougher action—Amnesty International recently called for Ghana to be immediately “suspended” from the Kimberley Process.

Even so, the NGOs pronounced themselves pleased. “All of these issues were addressed in a constructive manner,” said Partnership Africa Canada’s Ian Smillie, who delivered a gloomy opening address.

“The challenges ahead remain large, but the pessimism that gripped the opening sessions of the meeting had largely evaporated by the time the meeting ended.”

The World Diamond Council, which had endorsed some of Partnership Africa Canada’s criticisms of Kimberley, pronounced itself “delighted” with the progress.