Press Release: The Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) International opened its annual industry fundraising campaign, and the first contributions have been made by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA).
Fair prices, safe working conditions, education and human rights are what DDI is working on at the grassroots level in Africa and South America’s diamond industry.
Dorothee Gizenga, DDI’s executive director, said, “Support from AWDC is very important to us, because this organization represent such a broad cross-section of the industry. One of the best ways industry can show its commitment is through international trade associations like AWDC.”
AWDC is the coordinating body and the official representative of the Antwerp diamond sector, and as such is recognized internationally as the host, spokesperson and intermediary for the Belgian diamond community. AWDC is fully engaged in fostering high standards of corporate social responsibility in the industry.
Stéphane Fischler, president of AWDC, said, “We hope that our contribution will encourage others in the industry to join this campaign and to help build a solid base for DDI’s excellent work in Africa and South America. DDI is working to improve the lives of people who are very much part of our industry.”
DDI’s support to capacity building to enhance Kimberley Process (KP) internal controls complements AWDC’s initiatives to provide training and technical assistance. AWDC actively helps countries to set up their internal KP legislation. AWDC believes that KP compliance is a crucial element in the economical development of a sustainable diamond industry, especially on the African continent. AWDC is confident that DDI’s efforts to regulate Africa’s artisan diamond diggers will also contribute to a better level playing field for the KP.
DDI was started five years ago as a way of bringing industry, governments and civil society together to tackle the problems facing Africa’s 1.5 million artisan diamond diggers. The diamonds they produce and the places they work are where conflict diamonds began and where the potential for renewed violence remains. Although the diamond wars have ended and the KP tracks the international rough diamond trade, little has changed for the average digger, who earns a dollar a day, working under appalling conditions.
Gizenga said, “The Diamond Development Initiative is working on a diamond industry problem, it needs and deserves diamond industry support.”
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