Kimberley Process Reaches Deal on Zimbabwe

After a two-year stalemate, the Kimberley Process reached a deal to allow exports from Zimbabwe’s Marange region on Nov. 1, according to the World Diamond Council.

“This is a positive step, and a fair and good agreement for all sides,” WDC chairman Eli Izhakoff tells JCK, speaking from the organization’s Plenary at Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. “Everyone wanted this behind them. If we didn’t agree, this may have spelled the demise of the KP, and no one wanted that.”

He says the announcement of the agreement received a standing ovation.

No government blocked the deal, sources say, and several countries considered antagonists of Zimbabwe, like Australia, even spoke in favor of it. The U.S. did not speak either for or against the measure. Sources say it is now the front-runner to be the organization’s next chair.

“The stage is now set for the U.S. to do some good things,” Izhakoff says. “This will give us a revitalized and re-energized KP.”

Izhakoff also called on the NGOs to re-engage with the certification scheme again, after boycotting this meeting.

“They are vital part of the process and we welcome them back,” he says. 

The final agreement, which Izhakoff said is similar to a deal the organization’s Working Group on Monitoring approved in Dubai a year ago, says that:

– Mining operations at Marange Resources and Mbada, which a KP monitoring team had previously deemed compliant, will resume. Other mines may export, subject to approval of verification of their compliance according to KPCS minimum requirements by the organization’s monitoring team, which will receive full access to the mining sites.

– The KP monitoring team will visit Zimbabwe to examine whether a third mining operation in the area, Anjin, is KP-compliant and permitted to export diamonds.

– The KP Civil Society Coalition representatives in Zimbabwe will have access to the Marange region so as to allow continued reporting on KPCS implementation.

– Zimbabwe has committed to uphold the KPCS minimum requirements and will report to the current KP Plenary and the KP Intersessional Meeting in 2012 on issues related to identification of further investors, the regulation of artisanal mining, and the fight against illicit digging and smuggling.

– The new agreement will be subject to constant review and will remain in force until the KP Plenary Meeting in 2012.

The full text of the agreement can be seen here.

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