NGOs Call for New Diamond System

Given their ongoing frustration with the Kimberley Process, NGOs say they intend to push for “a parallel diamond regulatory body” called the “Cleaner Diamond Initiative.”

The body “will include all of the existing KP standards and those included in the many reform proposals that have been discussed over the years,” said a communiqué from the Civil Society Coaltion, issued following the decision of NGO Global Witness to leave the certification scheme. “This initiative aims to create a higher level of certification for consumers—a “Triple A Rating” that will build confidence and greater value in the diamonds of those countries and companies that participate.”

The idea behind the body is similar to the KP Plus idea floated last year.

The groups also called for the following:

– Inclusion of human rights in the KP charter.

“The current definition of conflict diamond is outdated and does not address the way in which violence in the diamond producing areas has evolved in the decade since the Kimberley Process was formed a decade ago,” the statement said.

– An increase in independent monitoring, what it calls a “review of reviews.”

– Inclusion of cutting and polishing industry in Kimberley oversight and statistics.

– “Clear language” supporting the role of NGOs in monitoring KP compliance.

– The Civil Society Coalition and World Diamond Council, which are considered “observers” to the process, must have final say over KP decisions in order for “consensus” to be reached.

– All KP monitoring reports, participants’ annual reports, and statistics should be made public.

– The KP needs an administrative support mechanism.

In related news, World Federation of Diamond Bourses president Avi Paz sent out a statement praising the NGOs’ contribution to the Kimberley Process but saying he “regretted” Global Witness’ decision to leave. 

“This is really the time to thank Global Witness for the significant role it has played as a KP founder, for its pivotal role in improving the KP, and for helping in making 99.9 percent of rough diamonds in the market conflict free,” Paz said. “Unfortunately, with Global Witness leaving the scene, the most experienced and veteran NGO in the KP will no longer be able to guide the other members of civil society from a confrontational into a more cooperative direction. We’re very sorry to see them leave at this critical point in time.”

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