Mar 12, 2018

Panel Discussion on KP Held on the Sidelines of United Nations General Assembly

A panel discussion on the Kimberley Process (KP) was held recently as a   United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) side event. The panel, composed  of a well-known group of executives  and dignitaries, including World Diamond Council (WDC) Acting President Stephane  Fischler, discussed “strategies to advance its ongoing contributions toward peace, security and sustainable development in diamond mining communities”, WDC said in a press release.

The event, held on March 7, 2018 at UN headquarters, was co-hosted by the governments of Australia and Botswana.

The panel discussion was held  following  the adoption of  the UNGA Resolution A/RES/72/267 – a KP resolution titled ‘The role of diamonds in fuelling conflict’. The resolution added the KP to the provisional agenda for the 73rd session, to be held later this year. The Chair of the Kimberley Process is scheduled to submit to the General Assembly a report on the implementation of the Kimberley Process  during the session.

“This year marks the beginning of a pivotal period for the KP; a two-year review and reform process led by the European Union Chairmanship and ending during next year’s Indian Chairmanship in 2019,” WDC remarked.

 WDC Acting President Stephane Fischler said, “The KP is the first ever mineral-based global mechanism to contribute to settling armed conflicts and has, over its relatively young life, significantly contributed to peace and security. In doing so, it enabled the diamond industry to support and create employment, income and livelihoods for millions of people. But the threat of instability and conflict remains and our work is not over. This important KP review period gives us the opportunity to address contemporary challenges facing the diamond industry and implement reforms to protect the human rights, freedoms and development of people who depend on the diamond trade.”

The panel discussion event commenced  with opening remarks from the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, the Botswana Permanent Ambassador at the UN and the Representative of the Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security of Botswana.

Following these,  the KP Chair for 2018 (European Union)  outlined the vision for the year ahead and provided a perspectives on the KP, sustaining peace and the 2030 Agenda.

The  panel participants, apart from Fischler, included Ian Smillie, President of the Diamond Development Initiative, and other United Nations Permanent representatives.

Making the opening remarks at the discussion, Fischler  reaffirmed the diamond industry’s commitment to the KP, while also reinforcing areas for reform to ensure continued success that included, as he said:

  •  Broadening the scope of the KP to increase the likelihood of safe and secure working conditions, fair labour practices and sustainable development in diamond communities;
  •  Establishing a permanent secretariat in a neutral country to strengthen long-term implementation of the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme;
  • Strengthening the KPCS minimum standards by making the peer review mechanism stronger.

Fischler concluded by saying, “Let us not forget that the KP is a process for a reason – a tripartite with many participants, diverse points of view and numerous priorities. Even though only one group holds the power to enact change directly, we will not give up. Industry remains committed to working together with our partners to listen, discuss and reach consensus that drives positive change. I am especially encouraged by efforts of the Civil Society Coalition, now led and overwhelmingly represented by African-based NGOs, with whom we share a commitment to secure lasting change. CSC is an influential voice for effecting meaningful transformation where problems are most acute today - artisanal diamond communities. We are confident that together all KP members – industry, civil society and governments – will fulfil  our shared duty of care owed to every individual touched by diamonds - from miners and their families to the end consumers that purchase diamond products and every person in between.”