WDC Voices Support for Evolution

Edahn Golan

The World Diamond Council’s (WDC) 8th Annual Meeting has concluded. The meeting passed a resolution expressing support for expanding the definition of “Conflict” as defined by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.
Keynote speaker Susan Shabangu, mining minister of South Africa, stated that the challenge to the sustainability of the diamond industry is no longer limited to stemming the trade of conflict diamonds, but also to “ensuring that we support the fledgling democracies, and emergent economies previously ravaged by conflict fueled by the illicit trade of this commodity.”

Ambassador Gillian Milovanovic, chair of KP, said the system is at a crossroads, adding, “Change must take place.”

De-politicizing KP is a goal, she told attendees. “KP can’t be all things for all people,” she said, adding that the definition of conflict needs to be “modernized.” She made the point in reference to the decline in civil wars in diamond producing countries while concerns are rising for other sources of violence.

She suggested that the definition of conflict diamonds be modified to cover “rough diamonds used to finance, or otherwise directly related to armed conflict or other situations of violence.”

This served as the basis for the decision to express support for discussions to widen the conflict diamonds definition in the Core Documents of the KPCS, beyond the current definition, which limits its scope to diamonds that finance civil conflict. The Plenary Session affirmed a proposal that conflict diamonds should cover “diamond-related violence in rough diamond producing and trading areas.”

Milovanovic advocated codifying practices that KP already implements on an ad hoc basis. For example, while KP is country based, certification can be done on a site-by-site basis, as it was with the Marange goods.

AWDC’s Mark Van Bockstael, a KP-appointed monitor to Zimbabwe, reported that diamond smuggling out of the country is “down to a trickle.”

Eli Izhakoff, President of the WDC captured the general mood of speakers from all walks of the diamond pipeline and the civil society when he stated, “the WDC was established to articulate our refusal to allow the product, to which we have dedicated our careers, be used as an agent of suffering and oppression. Under no circumstances should the diamond be associated with collective violence against communities.”

Source Idexonline