RAPAPORT… Jewelers of America (JA,) the retail trade group in the United States that represents 11,000 member stores, urges Kimberley Process participants “to act with alacrity in completing work on the system they launched in 2003.”
JA president and CEO Matthew Runci said that while the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) is a remarkable and unique achievement, involving the successful cooperation of many governments, non-governmental organizations and industry, there are issues still to be resolved. “It’s time to complete the task and get the job done,” Runci said.
Among the issues JA urged Kimberley participants to resolve at the plenary underway in Gaborone, Botswana, include:
Enforcement of Controls on the Movement of Diamonds Within Borders
The Kimberley Process must assure stronger controls on diamonds as they travel from mine to export, especially in countries where diamonds are mined in open, or alluvial settings. It’s a critical step in preventing illicit diamonds from entering the legitimate supply.
Better Management of Trading Statistics
The gathering of data about rough diamonds leaving and entering KPCS participant countries must improve and be professionally managed. This will help the system better identify irregularities in trading patterns that might signal the movement of conflict diamonds.
Funding for Effective Management of the Kimberley Process
To remain truly credible, the Kimberley Process must have the means to support itself. Funding is especially needed to support statistics gathering, to monitor individual countries’ systems, and to respond quickly to weak links and violations of the rules.
Runci said that retailers live on the front lines and must explain the industry’s response to the conflict diamond crisis to consumers. “JA members have vigorously supported all efforts to prevent conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate diamond supply. Since 2003 when the Kimberley Process went into effect, our members have required industry warranties from their suppliers that say all diamonds were sourced through KPCS,” he said.
“If Kimberley continues to be questioned, and the weaknesses are not addressed, consumers could lose faith in their retailers, in this largely successful regulatory system and in diamonds themselves.
“To protect the millions of people throughout the world who depend on diamond revenues to fund health care, schools and other vital development projects, and for the sake of all who have been victimized by the illicit use of diamonds in the past, we appeal to Kimberley Plenary delegates to act decisively and swiftly on these issues,” Runci said.