Delegates to the United Nations General Assembly called the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme “too important to fail,” and credited it with significantly reducing the trade in conflict diamonds, according to a Dec. 20 United Nations press release.
However, many also expressed concern that NGO Global Witness, a founding member of the KP, had left the organization, in part over the scheme’s recent approval of exports from the Marange region of Zimbabwe.
A representative of the Delegation of the European Union welcomed the enhanced cooperation regarding implementation of the Process, particularly with the World Customs Organization.
But he stressed that civil society participation was a key element to the group’s effectiveness and said participants needed to boost the system’s credibility. He also said he was encouraged that many civil society groups continue to remain engaged in the KP.
Canada’s representative said the process was at a “critical juncture” and needed to adapt to “new realities.”
The representative of the Russian Federation supported the KP’s November decision to allow exports of Marange diamonds, and urged the establishment of strengthened internal controls in producer countries and improved transparency of statistics.
Israel’s delegate noted that the Kimberley Process’ success is demonstrated by the fact that conflict diamonds now number 1 percent of the global market, down from 15 percent in the 1990s. He also expressed support for reforms, particularly the formation of a secretariat.
Also speaking was KP chairman Matthieu Yamba, who noted that Swaziland had joined the certification scheme, while Mali, Mozambique, Cameroon, Panama, Burkina Faso, and Kazakhstan had expressed interest in joining.
He also announced that Venezuela, which left the Kimberley Process two years ago, had also complied with the recommendations issued to it at the recent Plenary, and was now entitled to rejoin the scheme.