Press Release / Oct. 29, 2004


Lack of Agreement on Statistics Weakens Certification System

Civil Society organizations present at the 2004 Kimberley Process Plenary meeting are very disappointed at the lack of action to improve the collection and analysis of rough diamond production and trade statistics. A clear and consistent rough diamond data base is essential to the detection of conflict diamonds. A system was agreed more than two years ago and is a required element of the KPCS. (It has been generally agreed that data contained on KP certificates should be the basis for the data collection system, but some countries, notably Canada and the United States, use a different source of data.) This effectively confuses the entire KPCS data system. Russia has still submitted no data at all.

Unfortunately the KP meeting could agree on nothing more than “to study” the issue and debate it again at the next meeting a year from now. This is a dereliction of responsibility, and it means that there is unlikely to be a resolution any time in the near future.

“The lack of progress on statistics jeopardizes the credibility of the KPCS and robs it of an essential tool in the fight against conflict diamonds,” said Ian Smillie of Partnership Africa Canada.

Over the last year, however, significant progress was made on a number of key issues:

· A peer review system was established and a significant number of countries have now been reviewed or will be soon. Civil Society urge countries that have not volunteered for a review visit to do so without delay.
· The problem of internal controls in alluvial diamond producing countries was discussed in a collaborative manner and will be the subject of discussions involving those countries in the near future.

Civil society organizations note, however, that the problem of internal controls is not exclusive to African producing countries. While progress has been made on internal controls in trading countries, it is essential that governments do regular spot checks and audits to review the diamond industry’s compliance with the KP and the diamond industry’s self-regulation aimed at combating the trade in conflict diamonds. This will ensure public confidence in the system.

Civil society organizations are very pleased with the response by a number of governments and industry to a paper presented by Global Witness and Partnership Africa Canada on the plight of an estimated one million artisanal alluvial diamond miners in Africa who currently earn poverty-level incomes and live under harsh circumstances. A meeting will be held soon, outside the Kimberley Process, to discuss this issue in greater detail and to seek ways in which these miners can be brought into the mainstream economy of their countries.
Amnesty International
Centre du Commerce International pour le développement (Guinée)
Centre National pour le développement et la participation populaire (DRC)
Comite de Liaison des ONG du Congo (ROC)
Global Witness
Grémio para Ambiente, Beneficiência e Cultura (Angola)
Network Movement for Justice and Development (Sierra Leone)
NIZA/Fatal Transactions (Netherlands)
Partnership Africa Canada

For more information please contact:

Dorothée Gizenga Ngolo,
Partnership Africa Canada,
tel: 613-614-4547

Corinna Gilfillan,
Global Witness,
tel: 202-288-6111

John Tackaberry,
Amnesty International Canada,
tel: 613-744-7667, x 236