The UAE Kimberley Process Chair (KP Chair), Ahmed Bin Sulayem, has extended an invitation to all members of the Civil Society Coalition (CSC) to attend the upcoming Plenary in Dubai, UAE.
The Plenary takes place from November 13 to 17, and as part of its agenda it will discuss the possibility of installing a Permanent Secretariat under the mandate of the United Nations.
The invitation to the CSC was delivered by letter on October 17, and outlines the progress made by the KP during the first nine months of 2016. The KP Chair also shared with the CSC a document providing an in-depth response addressing previous issues and concerns raised by the CSC at the beginning of the UAE KP Chairmanship.
The KP Chair has travelled extensively across Africa in 2016, holding talks with political leaders, heads of state, and ministers of mines. The countries include Central African Republic, Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania.
In particular, significant progress has been made in the Central African Republic, where the UAE took over the lead of the CAR Monitoring team, and where four zones are now considered compliant for export, Bin Sulayem said in a statement. “In collaboration with the CAR government, the Monitoring Team is putting in place the necessary vigilance measures to ensure the long term compliance of the green zones of Berberati, Carnot, Boda and Nola.
“Working together with the OECD and AWDC, the KP Chair has initiated a series of dedicated workshops on rough diamond valuation. There is now a general consensus among participants that although valuating diamonds is extremely complex, a system of reverse engineering from polished prices to rough could become a tool for rough valuation if and when accompanied by an unanimously agreed methodology and nomenclature or format of sorting of rough parcels by trained valuators.
“Our progress with rough diamond valuation and my extensive travel across the African continent has confirmed my conviction that the world needs to do better for Africa. In my capacity as KP Chair it remains my intention to bring change and to improve working conditions and the social environment related to the diamond industry.
“In this context and as a next step, we need to jointly address the issue that the KP today lacks a permanent structure able to handle the numerous issues faced by countries that have been prohibited to export, and guiding them back to normalization. As such, we need to elaborate on the idea of a Permanent Secretariat under the mandate of the United Nations. A well-structured permanent body taking over the work which today is done by volunteers, sometimes under difficult circumstances should resonate with the tri-party system within the KP.”
In the letter, the KP Chair further details that the funding of a Permanent Secretariat should be provided by diamond consuming nations, not diamond producing nations. The KP Chair also suggests that a Permanent Secretariat, should be manned by an African national who has in-depth knowledge of the Kimberley Process, its regulations, the working bodies of the KPCS, and also the natural resource sector in Africa.
“As KP Chair, it is our sincere wish to be able to collaboratively bring all the work which has been done over the last nine months to a good end. Hence, our proposal is to extend this also into the next year and show our willingness to fund the participation of all members of the CSC at the Plenary so that we can demonstrate to the world that the Kimberley Process has re-found an active tripartite which looks at solving the issues at stake proactively and jointly,” said Bin Sulayem.