Participants in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme at its recent meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, set a final deadline of June 10 for countries to submit their documentation to participate in the diamond certification process. Approval of the list of participants is scheduled for July 31.
Shmuel Schnitzer, president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), welcomed the decision to set the new deadlines in which countries will be able to continue trading in the international marketplace.
“The original date for implementation was January 1, 2003, but we realized at the time that certain countries lacked both the physical and legal infrastructures ready to properly introduce the certification scheme,” Schnitzer said. “Because it was in all of our interests to get as many countries on board, it was clear that a degree of flexibility was required regarding dates. But that was months ago, and by now all those governments that are serious about putting Kimberley Process systems in place should have already done so, or be in the final stages of preparation.”
Schnitzer was also complimentary about decision taken at the Johannesburg meeting to dispatch a mission to Central African Republic (CRA) to investigate its government’s ability to monitor the flow of rough diamonds in and out of the country.
“By going out into the field to investigate charges of illegal trafficking of conflict diamonds, we are showing to the international community that we are taking this matter seriously and that we are committed to the cause. Charges were leveled against the CRA and its government invited us to come in and see things for ourselves. That’s an encouraging sign, and I hope we will be able to put the matter to rest,” Schnitzer said.
So far 51 nations and one “regional economic integration organization” are participating in the Kimberley Process.