Dubai diamond trade veteran Ahmed Bin Sulayem has been appointed 2016 chair of the Kimberley Process on behalf of the United Arab Emirates.
The UAE’s appointment to head the certification scheme next year has become the most controversial in its history, leading the Kimberley Process civil society coalition to say it will boycott next year’s meeting.
Bin Sulayem, who also chairs the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre Authority, has often reposted criticisms of NGOs in social media.
But in a statement, he struck a more conciliatory tone, saying he wants to strengthen ties between the three pillars of the group: governments, industry, and civil society.
“The UAE will use this opportunity to focus on areas that will have the greatest impact on growth and development, in addition to sustaining the core values of the organization,” he said. “Dubai has since become one of the top diamond centers in the world, and we will use these learnings to provide leadership and to drive our industry forward in 2016.”
Current chair Bernardo Campos, who represents Angola, congratulated Bin Sulayem on his appointment.
“We have a shared goal to set about consolidating the achievements of the last 12 years and strengthening the ties between all three pillars; government, industry and civil society,” he said. “I am confident the UAE will strengthen these ties further in 2016 as well as implement their own vision and plans. 2016 will be an important and exciting year for our industry.”