The Kimberley Process (KP) held a Plenary meeting in Swakopmund, Namibia last week, where it adopted a work plan for the Marange diamond mining fields in Zimbabwe, agreed to monitor “conflict diamonds” from the Côte d’Ivoire following UNSC Resolution 1893 (2009), and made decisions on the general enforcement mechanism of the KP rules. The Democratic Republic of Congo will be the 2011 Kimberely Process Chair.
The KP initiative began after 2000 discussions between interested governments, the diamond industry, and members of civil society of how to combat “conflict diamonds,” which have been used to finance wars in Africa’s diamond-rich countries. By 2002, the KP adopted the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), which requires participants to rigorously control diamond exports and imports and incorporate internal controls for the production and trade of diamonds. To ensure compliance, the KP requires statistical reporting on a regular basis in addition to other verification measures. With the Support of the United Nations and the European Community, the KP now has 49 Participants, with the members of the European Community counted together as a single member. The participants include all key centers for the production, polishing, and trade of diamonds.
The KP’s review of the Marange mining fields occurred as a result of recent reports suggesting non-compliance and human rights abuses. These reports followed the Zimbabwean government’s takeover of the fields during operation “Hakudzwoki” (no return) back in November of 2008. As a result, the KP adopted a double-track approach, using scientific measures to halt the flow of conflict diamonds from the area and sending a high-level KP envoy to the area. As part of the action plan adopted at the Swakopmund Plenary meeting, Zimbabwe agreed to bring mining into compliance with the KP so that the diamonds can be used for economic development rather than war.
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