Partnership Africa Canada Says Kimberley Process is Failing

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RAPAPORT… Partnership Africa Canada’s (PAC) Diamonds and Human Security Annual Review for 2009 concluded that the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) is failing — but not due to warlords and sanctions busters. Instead, the PAC said governments that refuse to get tough on smuggling, human rights abuses and money laundering are placing the scheme at high risk for collapse. 
 
This year’s Review, which includes detailed investigative reports on more than a dozen diamond producing countries, notes that the cost of the Kimberley Process’ (KP) collapse would be disastrous for an industry that benefits so many. “A criminalized diamond economy would re-emerge,” said the group’s executive director, Bernard Taylor. “And conflict diamonds could soon follow.” The problems can and must be fixed, Taylor added.
 
One of the problems at stake was that theKP lacks accountability. The chairmanship rotates on an annual basis and problems shift from one working group to another. Debates on vital issues extend for years and in the Kimberley Process, consensus means that everyone must agree — and that a single dissenting government can block forward movement, Partnership Africa Canada explained.

Weak monitoring has translated into flagrant noncompliance, as was the case in Cote d’Ivoire and Venezuela. “The tracking of diamonds was the main purpose of theKimberley Process, to guarantee that they come from a known, clean source,” the group stated. “But in two of Africa’s largest diamond producers — Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) — internal controls are still so weak after seven years that nobody can be certain where the diamonds they export really come from.”
 
Partnership Africa Canada also said that trade and production statistics from Lebanon, Guinea and the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) raised serious questions, but no answers. TheKPstill has not addressed “smuggling, mismanagement and a government massacre of more than 200 diamond diggers in Zimbabwe,” according to the group. “Denial and procrastination are the default positions.”
 
PAC will call for “serious reform” during the November KP meeting in Namibia and for serious action on the scheme’s many outstanding problems. Susanne Emond of PAC said that theKP is “is too important to too many countries, companies and people to be a sham. It does not need to be redesigned; its provisions need to be enforced.”

LH

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