In the recently released News Letter, Edward Asscher-WDC President said about the KP Review and Reform Cycle set to begin in 2023 under the heading of, the day that changed the trajectory of our year. By referring that day in Dubai, he said, we intuitively understood that the trajectory of our year had changed completely.
We also understood that the war in Ukraine would impact on deliberations in the Kimberley Process, just as we appreciated that the KP would have difficulty in articulating a coherent position. The shortfall we had long spoken about in the conflict diamond, definition was crystal clear, as was the urgency of addressing that issue during the Review and Reform Cycle set to begin in 2023.
The war in Ukraine in many ways defined my final year as President of WDC, a term that will end in May. It brought home the limitations of a system like the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, just as it emphasized the importance of enforcing and strengthening the KPCS when it is applicable, and where it is able to protect and improve the lives and livelihoods of people in conflict zones.
The regulation of the diamond trade, when managed through the KPCS, is only effective to the degree by which governments are ready and able to do their duty. The KP is not a monolithic body, but rather a loose union of nations, which implement the system according to the laws that each has legislated, and enforce with the resources it is able and prepared to expend. Where the KP forum has been effective, although certainly not perfect, is creating common principles around which all Participant members have been able to coalesce.
The WDC has worked hard, in public and in bilateral discussions with KP Participants, with our goal being that those common principles be further refined, so that they align with essential human rights, as they are articulated by the United Nations – and as our consumers increasingly expect. The level to which we have been effective is set by the degree to which discussions in the KP translate into actual policies and actions at the national level. Consequently, our advice to members of the industry always been that, at the very least, they must always apply the law of the land.
It would have been preferable had there been a clear, international standard according to which we all would abide. But this is not the case at present, certainly where goods fall outside the current “conflict diamonds” definition. Hopefully, with the KP’s Review and Reform cycle now underway, progress will be made in expanding its scope, so that, as we did 20 years ago in West and Central Africa, we will be able to address all relevant humanitarian crises with a single voice.
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