Kimberly Process delegates reached a preliminary agreement on July 5 in Moscow to adopt minimum acceptable standards for a certification system to stem the trade of conflict diamonds. Delegates included government officials from nearly 40 countries that produce, process and import diamonds. They were joined by representatives from the World Diamond Council (WDC), the European Commission (EU) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The meeting was a follow-up to a gathering held in Brussels, Belgium in April.
The agreement proposes that countries involved in the mining or trade of diamonds issue an internationally recognized certificate to confirm the legitimacy of diamonds. During the three-day meeting, Russia presented a model certificate and sample container for storing and transporting rough diamonds.
“There is an agreement that will put in place a regulatory regime in the world that will ensure that conflict diamonds do not enter the marketplace,” said Nchakha Moloi, chairman of the Kimberly process and special advisor to South Africa’s Ministry of Minerals and Energy. “We have achieved objectives of the Russian Kimberly Process meeting and agreed on the basic elements that will form the certification system.”
Moloi said the proposed system would not significantly increase consumer costs and a monitoring system would be enacted. The next meeting of Kimberly Process delegates will take place in London in September. The delegates will report their progress to the 56th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Ivan Ivanov, the meeting’s co-chairman and Russian deputy foreign minister, said that the delegates had agreed upon the main principles of a certification system, which includes: a proposal for government agencies to be responsible for confirming the legitimacy of diamonds and that producers be required to give guarantees to their governments. “This will include the format and content of certificates accompanying rough diamonds,” he said, “plus minimum standards, which support the certificates and underpin the system.”
Legislators Had Urged Process Forward
A few days before the announced agreement, seven authors of U.S. legislation to curb the trade in conflict diamonds released an open letter to participants in the Kimberley Process urging them to complete their work soon.
We believe your work in 2000 and 2001 will contribute to lasting peace in Africa,” the senators and members of Congress wrote. “But its value will be significantly diminished if the solution you devise comes after more war and suffering, or after diamonds become tainted in the eyes of consumers.”
The letter was signed by sponsors of all three U.S. legislative proposals on conflict diamonds — HR 918, S. 787, and S. 1084 – sponsored by Congressman Tony Hall (D-Ohio), Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), Congressman Frank Wolf (R-Virginia), Senator Mike DeWine (R-Ohio), Senator Russell D. Feingold (D-Wisconsin), Congresswoman Cynthia A.McKinney (D-Georgia) and Senator Judd Gregg