DDI to coordinate technical assistance function of Kimberley Process.
The Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) has begun coordinating the technical assistance function of the Kimberley Process, with the help of a grant from Signet Jewelers Ltd.
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) is a joint government, industry and civil society initiative set to stem the flow of conflict diamonds, especially those used to finance wars against legitimate governments.
The technical assistance function coordinates support among and between KPCS members in order to enhance compliance and to improve development potential in artisanal mining countries.
DDI executive director Dorothée Gizenga, commented: “We very much welcome the opportunity to manage the technical assistance component. This is an important part of the Kimberley Process and one where we feel DDI has a lot of value to add.”
Signet Jewelers – the largest jewellery retailer in the US, UK and Canada with over 3,600 stores, a diamond polishing factory in Botswana and a diamond buying office in India – has supported the DDI with an undisclosed grant
Signet chief executive officer Mark Light, commented: “As perhaps the largest purchaser of polished diamonds in the world this is an excellent match for us. The Kimberley Process can and should be about more than regulation. It must also add value to diamonds and to the communities and countries where they are mined and polished. We believe that improved technical assistance – coordinated by DDI – is one way towards helping accomplish that.”
An estimated 16% of global annual rough diamond production comes from artisanal sources involving between 1 -1.5million diggers.
Light continues: “We believe retailers have a special responsibility to help, when possible, and that’s why we support the work of DDI with technical assistance to the KPCS and in artisanal mining communities is critical.”
The World Diamond Council (WDC), which coordinates overall administrative support for the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, has also offered its support to the DDI. President Edward Asscher, commented: “With the support provided by Signet Jewelers Ltd., DDI takes on an essential component of the KPCS’ raison d’être.
"Technical cooperation within the KPCS has great potential, not just for better compliance, but for advancing the effectiveness of the Kimberley Process and the developmental importance of the diamond industry.”