Press Release: Jewelers of America (JA), the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry retail marketplace, welcomed some progress on Kimberley Process reforms that would help strengthen controls in the global trade in rough diamonds. The Kimberley Process plenary was held from November 27 to 30, in Washington, D.C. In October, the JA sent an open letter to the industry — co-signed by other major U.S. organizations and retailers — that called for Kimberley Process reform.
“Jewelers of America is encouraged by incremental steps taken to improve the Kimberley Process,” said Matthew A. Runci, the president of JA.
In particular, the plenary approved revised guidelines that will address serious non-compliance with Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) minimum requirements. This includes a road map for action in these instances. Another key move was the establishment of an Administrative Support Mechanism, a role that will be taken on by the World Diamond Council, beginning January 1, 2013.
Jewelers of America also welcomed the following:
–Continued expansion of the Kimberley Process family, adding three participating countries — Panama, Kazakhstan and Cambodia — as full members.
–The fact that all participating countries successfully submitted required statistics for the first time since the Kimberley Process began.
–A measure strengthening the Kimberley Process’ peer review process.
–Continued efforts to integrate the development of artisanal and small-scale diamond mining in the implementation of the Kimberley Process.
The association also acknowledges Zimbabwe’s achievement in meeting the KPCS minimum requirements. As a result, the plenary lifted additional Kimberley Process monitoring on diamonds from the Marange region of the country that were put in place at the November 2011 plenary.
However, JA notes that, regardless of Zimbabwe returning to full Kimberley Process status, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) continues to enforce legal sanctions that prohibit all dealings, both directly and through third parties, with the Zimbabwean entities that own or control the Marange-region diamond mines and the diamonds exported by these entities.
Despite important improvements, JA was disappointed that the plenary did not have consensus to adopt a measure that would have expanded the definition of conflict diamonds to include all systematic violence and conflicts that are diamond-related. The plenary did reaffirm the mandate of the committee on Kimberley Process Review to continue discussions and consultations on this topic.
JA supported the measure, along with other reforms put forth by U.S. Ambassador Gillian Milovanovic, who served as chair of the Kimberley Process for 2012. The association praised Milovanovic’s work as chair.
“Ambassador Milovanovic did an exemplary job leading the Kimberley Process, creating a road map for much needed reform in a collaborative, inclusive and constructive way,” Runci said. “Our hope is that the incoming Kimberley Process chair, South Africa, will continue on this path, working to advance the development agenda that was put forth by the United States this year.”
JA believes that the Kimberley Process remains the foundation for the exclusion of conflict diamonds from the worldwide marketplace. However, it must continue to evolve in order to meet critical challenges in the years ahead.
“Jewelers of America recognizes that if the Kimberley Process cannot evolve to address changing expectations and requirements of consumers, jewelers will need to turn elsewhere in order to preserve consumer confidence,” Runci said.
About Jewelers of America
Jewelers of America (JA) is the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry retail marketplace, with the primary purpose of improving consumer confidence in the jewelry industry. JA’s consumer education arm, Jewelry Information Center (JIC), has provided public relations and marketing services on behalf of the fine jewelry and watch industry since 1946. Visit www.jewelers.org and www.JIC.org for more information.
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