RAPAPORT… The Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) began coordinating the technical assistance function of the Kimberley Process with the financial assistance from Signet Jewelers Ltd. This initiative coordinates support among and between Kimberley Process Certification Scheme members in order to enhance compliance and to improve development potential in those countries where diamonds are mined artisanally.
“We very much welcome the opportunity to manage the technical assistance component,” said Dorothée Gizenga, DDI’s executive director of DDI. “This is an important part of the Kimberley Process and one where we feel DDI has a lot of value to add.”
Mark Light, Signet’s CEO, said, “As perhaps the largest purchaser of polished diamonds in the world, this is an excellent match for us. The Kimberley Process can and should be about more than regulation. It must also add value to diamonds and to the communities and countries where they are mined and polished. We believe that improved technical assistance – coordinated by DDI – is one way towards helping accomplish that.”
DDI estimates that 16 percent of rough diamond production comes from artisanal sources annually, involving between 1 million and 1.5 million diggers. “Some of those diamonds find their way into jewelry counters around the world, including those in our stores,” Light said. “We believe retailers have a special responsibility to help, when possible, and that’s why we support the work of DDI with technical assistance to the Kimberley Process and in artisanal mining communities is critical.”
Edward Asscher, the president of the World Diamond Council (WDC), which coordinates administrative support for the Kimberley Process, said, “With the support provided by Signet Jewelers Ltd., DDI takes on an essential component of the Kimberley Process’ raison d’être. Technical cooperation within the Kimberley Process has great potential, not just for better compliance, but for advancing the effectiveness and the developmental importance of the diamond industry.”