U.N. General Assembly welcomes Kimberley Process

The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution on Tuesday in support of a global certification scheme for the valuable gems.

The plan, known as the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, is a negotiating procedure to establish minimum acceptable international standards for national certification covering the import and export of rough diamonds. It was established by southern African diamond producing countries in 2000 adopted at a ministerial meeting in Interlaken, Switzerland, on November 5, and took effect on January 1. Nearly 50 countries that produce and trade in the stones are now involved in the process, as well as the European Community, the diamond industry, and civil society. The United States participation in the Kimberley seems to be near certainty as both Houses of Congress approved legislation adopting the Kimberley Process in the United States the previous week. The bill was sent to President Bush for his final approval.

The General Assembly resolution said that it welcomed the decision by countries to participate in the certification. It also noted that the Process could help to ensure effective implementation of relevant resolutions of the Security Council containing sanctions on the trade in conflict diamonds.

“Encouraging all Member States to participate actively in the Process, today’s resolution stressed that the widest possible participation is essential and should be encouraged and facilitated,” the statement said.

The Assembly also decided to include in the provisional agenda of its fifty-eighth session an item entitled, “The role of diamonds in fuelling conflict.”