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The Kimberley Process

On 5th December 2011 Global Witness announced its departure from the Kimberley Process. Read a message about why we decided to leave the Kimberley Process from Founding Director Charmian Gooch.

What is the Kimberley Process?

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (Kimberley Process or KP) is an international governmental certification scheme that was set up to prevent the trade in diamonds that fund conflict. Launched in January 2003, the scheme requires governments to certify that shipments of rough diamonds are conflict-free.

How did the Kimberley Process begin?

In 1998, Global Witness launched a campaign to expose the role of diamonds in funding conflict, as part of broader research into the link between natural resources and conflict. In response to growing international pressure from Global Witness and other NGOs, the major diamond trading and producing countries, representatives of the diamond industry, and NGOs met in Kimberley, South Africa to determine how to tackle the blood diamond problem. The meeting, hosted by the South African government, was the start of an often contentious three-year negotiating process which culminated in the establishment of an international diamond certification scheme. The Kimberley Process was endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and launched in January 2003.

How does it work in practice?

The KP is an import-export certification scheme which requires participating governments to certify the origin of rough diamonds, and put in place controls to prevent conflict stones from entering the supply chain. Participant countries enact domestic legislation to implement the scheme, and can only trade rough diamonds with other members. The KP’s technical provisions are implemented by governments, and non-governmental organisations and the diamond industry hold official observers status.

Is the Kimberley Process working?

The Kimberley Process has chalked up some notable achievements in the past ten years, including pioneering a tripartite approach to solving international problems, and helping some of the countries that were worst-hit by diamond-fuelled wars to increase their official diamond revenues. However, member governments have repeatedly failed to deal effectively with problem cases such as Zimbabwe, Côte d’Ivoire and Venezuela. Despite the existence of the Kimberley Process, diamonds are still fuelling violence and human rights abuses. The Kimberley Process’ refusal to evolve and address the clear links between diamonds, violence and tyranny has rendered it increasingly outdated.

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