Civil society groups continue to remain gravely concerned about the loopholes that threaten the effectiveness and the credibility of the Kimberley Process and are pressing for the adoption of regular reviews to assess how each country's laws and regulations are working, in practice, to halt conflict diamond trading. This would involve carrying out review missions to each participant once every three years to evaluate how the Kimberley Process requirements are being implemented and enforced.
At the meeting, the key decision facing governments will be whether to adopt a South African peer review proposal for regular reviews. Currently, there are no formal arrangements in the Kimberley Process for effective, systematic monitoring of how each country's laws and regulations actually work in practice.(2)
Non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the World Diamond Council and major diamond producing and trading countries such as South Africa, Canada, the United States, Israel and the European Commission, are calling for regular, impartial monitoring to ensure that the system is effective and does not suffer a crisis of credibility. Some governments remain opposed to the
idea, however, and could block the adoption of an effective review system.
An additional problem is the lack of progress in collection and analysis of statistics - an important tool for detecting conflict diamond trading. Many governments have failed to submit the required statistics, calling into question their commitment to the Kimberley Process. NGOs will argue that governments that have not submitted their statistics before the Plenary Meeting should be suspended from the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.
For more information please contact:
Judith Sargentini of the Nederlands instituut for Southern Africa. Judith Sargentini will be present at the Kimberley Process meeting, and can be reached in Sun City at her mobile phone +31 6 19 62 60 29 or at +27 72 57 71 023.
ActionAid - U.K.
Global Witness - U.K.
Netherlands Institute for Southern Africa/Fatal Transactions Campaign - Netherlands
Network Movement for Justice and Development - Sierra Leone
One Sky - Canadian Institute of Sustainable Living - Canada
Partnership Africa Canada - Canada
World Vision - USA
(1) The Kimberley Process, launched in January 2003, is an international diamond certification scheme to eradicate the trade in conflict diamonds. It requires governments to implement export/import control regimes in rough diamonds to prevent diamonds from fuelling war and human rights abuses and from financing terrorist activities. The Kimberley Process was negotiated by governments, civil society organisations and the diamond trade, in response to a civil society campaign against the trade in conflict diamonds.
(2) In July 2003, NGOs welcomed the publication of a new list of participating countries that met the minimum requirements of the Kimberley Process. However, the Kimberley Process Participation Committee, which is responsible for reviewing membership credentials, only examined whether countries have the requisite laws, not how they are actually being implemented and enforced. Currently there are 55 countries participating in the Kimberley Process.