The Kimberley Process outlived its purpose. It can no longer evolve, it cannot adjust to current problems and the old ones are mostly gone. The problems that the KP was created to address can be taken care of with much simpler tools. Therefore, let us give KP the honorable and dignified euthanasia it deserves, cherish its important memory in our hearts and bury it.
Today’s issues are very different from those faced a decade ago. However, while the world changed, the KP has not – accept for the antics. The take-charge attitude in the face of murder and consumer abandonment was replaced with a lot of futile talk. Some say, a group of adults contemplating their navels.
Ministers, high-ranking officials and many others are debating on a semi regular basis how to resolve a very limited number of topics – and not moving forward at all.
The Case of the Elusive Definition
Consider the change of the definition of conflict diamonds. The World Diamond Council voted in support of “holding talks” about it. Let’s be honest. The change is not going to happen. Those that oppose the change will drag their feet until the U.S. will no longer chair the KP.
The next two chairs will be African countries that oppose the change. Poof! Two and a half years are gone! Then the discussion may restart, and who knows which way it will develop, if at all.
Careful reading of the PR and statements publicized after the Intersessional in Washington, DC finds plenty of good intentions, but no forward movement, development or “updating.”
Dear friends – change will not take place because many of the participants don’t want it to happen. And when that is the case, the KP can’t evolve. The funeral march has already started, but the deceased has not acknowledged its new status. Death.
Regardless of what the KP will do (and mainly what it can’t do), the NGOs will continue to criticize it for failing to do enough. Decent diamond traders and honest jewelry manufacturers will keep doing business ethically. Consumers will keep choosing based on pocket and heart. And the KP, alive or dead, won’t make the smallest difference.
The right thing to do, though radical, is to leave oversight to customs officials and the UN, which can decide if to ban goods from a country or not. It worked fine for lumber. A new system must form. It should likely be more of a think-tank in format. One that can offer technical assistance to governments, make suggestions about enforcement, investigate and report on misconduct, maybe even include polished diamonds in its charter.
The problem is that this is too radical. Many good people were and still are involved with the KP. A wonderful experiment did good and brought good. However, even good things end, and this marvelous endeavor reached its end too.
Let us be kind. Acknowledge that the KP is incapacitated, neutered by its own hands, and put it to sleep.