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Encyclopedia > Kimberley Process

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) is a scheme designed to prevent conflict diamonds (also known as blood diamonds) entering the mainstream rough diamond market. The scheme was set up to try to assure consumers that by purchasing diamonds they were not financing war and human rights abuses. 98% of the world's trade in rough diamonds takes place in and between countries taking part in the scheme.

The scheme originated from a meeting of South African diamond producing states in Kimberley in May 2000. In December of 2000 the General Assembly of the United Nations passed a resolution calling for the creation of a scheme that would allow certification of diamonds that had not been sold in order to finance civil war. The KPCS was finally agreed upon by nations involved in the trade of diamond and diamond-mining and production companies, notably De Beers and the World Diamond Council, in November 2002.

In order for a country to be able to participant in the scheme, it must ensure

  1. that any diamond originating from the country does not finance a rebel group or other entity seeking to overthrow a UN-recognized government.
  2. that every diamond export be accompanied by a Kimberley Process certificate proving (1).
  3. that no diamond is imported from, or exported to, a non-member of the scheme.

This three-step plans is a simple description of the steps taken to ensure a "chain" of countries that deal exclusively with non-conflict diamonds. Details of the scheme can be found in the official KPCS document linked in the external links section below.

The scheme is essentially self-enforced. Supervision of the Process is done by the Chair, elected on an annual basis at a plenary meeting. A Working Group on Monitoring monitors each participant to ensure that it is implementing the scheme correctly. The Working Group reports to the Chair. Other working groups include the Technical Working Group (or Working Group of Diamond Experts) which reports on difficulties in implementing the scheme and proposed solutions, and the Statistics Working Group, which reports diamond trading data. The Participation Committee reports to the Chair on its recommendations on proposed members hoping to join the scheme. The Selection Committee reports on its recommendations on who should be the next Vice-Chair. After a year of being Vice-Chair, the successful candidate becomes the Chair.

In July 2001, Congo was removed from the scheme because it was found unable to prove the origin of its gems. For countries economically dependent on diamond exports, this can be a substantial punishment, as it disallows trade with much of the rest of the world.

Whilst the Process has been broadly welcomed by groups aiming to improve human rights in countries previously affected by conflict diamonds, such as Angola, some say the scheme does not go far enough. For instance, Amnesty International says "[We] welcome the Kimberley Process as important step to dealing with the problem of conflict diamonds. But until the diamond trade is subject to mandatory, impartial monitoring, there is still no effective guarantee that all conflict diamonds will be identified and removed from the market." Canadian aid group One Sky (funded in part by the Canadian government) concurs with Amnesty's view saying "If effectively implemented, the Kimberley Process will ensure that diamonds cannot be used to finance war and atrocities [..] However, without a system of expert, independent and periodic reviews of all countries, the overall process remains open to abuse." An example of abuse would be smuggling conflict diamonds into a certified facility or country. Since by some estimates up to 30% of the rough output of some diamond mines is smuggled out illegally, detecting such abuse is a formidable challenge.

Nations participating in the scheme

  1. Angola
  2. Armenia
  3. Australia
  4. Belarus
  5. Botswana
  6. Brazil
  7. Bulgaria
  8. Canada
  9. Central African Republic
  10. People's Republic of China
  11. Democratic Republic of Congo
  12. Côte d'Ivoire
  13. Croatia
  14. The 25 member states of the European Union
  15. Ghana
  16. Guinea
  17. Guyana
  18. India
  19. Israel
  20. Japan
  21. Republic of Korea
  22. Lao People's Democratic Republic
  23. Lesotho
  24. Malaysia
  25. Mauritius
  26. Namibia
  27. Norway
  28. Romania
  29. Russian Federation
  30. Singapore
  31. Sierra Leone
  32. South Africa
  33. Sri Lanka
  34. Switzerland
  35. Tanzania
  36. Thailand
  37. Togo
  38. Ukraine
  39. United Arab Emirates
  40. United States of America
  41. Venezuela
  42. Vietnam
  43. Zimbabwe

External links

  • Official homepage of the Process's Secretariat (http://www.kimberleyprocess.com:8080/)
  • Document describing in detail the participant's obligations (PDF format) (http://www.kimberleyprocess.com:8080/site/content/KPCS.pdf)
  • BBC News report on Congo's removal from the scheme (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3889221.stm)
  • De Beers group on the Kimberley Process (http://www.debeersgroup.com/hotTopics/cdIntroduction.asp)
  • Amnesty International on the Kimberley Process (http://www.amnesty.ca/realsecurity/conflictdiamonds.php)
  • One Sky on the Kimberley Process (http://www.onesky.ca/diamonds/actions.html)

  Results from FactBites:
U.S. Government Role in Fighting the Conflict Diamond Trade (1923 words)
The Kimberley Process was initiated in Kimberley, South Africa, in May 2000, when representatives of key producing, trading and consuming countries, the diamond industry, and civil society began a series of meetings to examine the conflict diamonds problem.
Kimberley Process efforts were endorsed in December 2000 by the U.N. General Assembly, which called for participants to broaden participation and develop proposed minimum acceptable standards for certification.
The expectation of the Kimberley Process participants is that the Kimberley system will be put into complete effect by all participants by a date to be ascertained before the end of this year.
Kimberley Process Working Document (3229 words)
To keep all other participants and the Kimberley Process secretariat fully informed about the laws, regulations, rules, procedures and practices that are applicable within its territory that in respect of the absence of conflict diamonds from the production, transport, trading, mixing, sorting, handling or processing of other rough diamonds.
According to the "roadmap" for the Kimberley Process agreed in Windhoek in February 2001, the aim of the Moscow meeting was the "definition of proposals for minimum acceptable standards" for an international certification scheme for rough diamonds.
The future work of the Kimberley Process is based on the framework document which was prepared for the Moscow meeting.
  More results at FactBites »



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