E.U. to Serve as Kimberley Process Chair in 2007

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(Rapaport…November 17, 2005) The European Union (E.U.) was designated to head up the chairmanship of the Kimberley Process for year 2007. The E.U. will serve as vice-chair during 2006 while Botswana serves as the organization’s chair.

Press Release:

“The Kimberley Process, the international initiative to eliminate the trade in conflict diamonds, has designated the European Union as its new Chair for 2007. The E.U. will serve as vice-chair in 2006, during Botswana’s chairmanship. The E.U. is represented in this multi-lateral scheme by the European Commission.

The European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner welcomed the news saying, “The Kimberley Process has established itself in a short time as a uniquely promising and widely acclaimed instrument for breaking the link between the illicit exploitation of natural resources and armed conflict. The E.U. has been deeply committed to its success from the beginning, and this new decision is a recognition of the E.U.’s growing role in conflict prevention”.

She added, “Our primary objective as chair will be to promote the fullest possible implementation of the KPCS by all participants.”

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) was launched in 2002 by a unique coalition of governments, civil society and the diamond industry in response to the role of diamonds in funding some of the most devastating civil wars in Africa during the past decade.

Its membership now comprises 44 states and the European Community as a single participant representing all 25 member states of the E.U. The KPCS is a multilateral import and export control regime, designed to prevent the trade in conflict diamonds through the use of certificates to accompany all international shipments of rough diamonds. The KPCS also requires members to implement effective internal controls over their diamond production and trade.

The European Commission has been at the forefront of the KPCS, contributing to its development into an ever more effective instrument for eradicating trade in illicit diamonds. It took the lead in establishing an effective peer review mechanism, and led the first-ever monitoring visit under the Scheme.

Within the EU the KPCS is implemented by a Council Regulation which applies in all Member States. The EU is the world’s largest trading centre for rough diamonds.”

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