World Diamond Council (WDC) acting president Stephane Fischler joined a renowned group of executives and dignitaries at a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) side event, discussing the Kimberley Process (KP) and strategies to advance its ongoing contributions toward peace, security and sustainable development in diamond mining communities.
This year marks the beginning of a pivotal period for the KP; a two-year review and reform process led by the European Union chairmanship and ending during next year’s Indian chairmanship in 2019.
The side event, which was held on March 7 and was co-hosted by the governments of Australia and Botswana, followed adoption by the UNGA Resolution, a KP resolution titled, ‘The role of diamonds in fueling conflict’. The resolution added the KP to the provisional agenda for the 73rd session where the chair of the Kimberley Process will submit to the General Assembly a report on the implementation of the Kimberley Process.
Of the KP, WDC acting president Stephane Fischler remarks: “The KP is the first ever mineral-based global mechanism to contribute to settling armed conflicts and has, over its relatively young life, significantly contributed to peace and security. In doing so, it enabled the diamond industry to support and create employment, income and livelihoods for millions of people. But the threat of instability and conflict remains and our work is not over.
“This important KP review period gives us the opportunity to address contemporary challenges facing the diamond industry and implement reforms to protect the human rights, freedoms and development of people who depend on the diamond trade.”
The event opened with remarks from the minister for foreign affairs of Australia, the Botswana permanent ambassador at the UN and the representative of the minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security of Botswana. Remarks were followed by an address by the 2018 European Union KP Chair who outlined a vision for the year ahead and provided perspectives on the KP, sustaining peace and the 2030 Agenda.
Joining Mr. Fischler on the panel portion of the event was Ian Smillie, president of the Diamond Development Initiative, and other United Nations Permanent representatives.
During the panel discussion, Mr. Fischler provided opening remarks and reaffirmed industry’s commitment to the KP, while also reinforcing areas for reform to ensure continued success that included:
- Broadening the scope of the KP to increase the likelihood of safe and secure working conditions, fair labor practices and sustainable development in diamond communities;
- Establishing a permanent secretariat in a neutral country to strengthen long-term implementation of the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme;
- Strengthening the KPCS minimum standards by making the peer review mechanism stronger.
Fischler concludes: “Let us not forget that the KP is a process for a reason – a tripartite with many participants, diverse points of view and numerous priorities. Even though only one group holds the power to enact change directly, we will not give up. Industry remains committed to working together with our partners to listen, discuss and reach consensus that drives positive change. I am especially encouraged by efforts of the Civil Society Coalition, now led and overwhelmingly represented by African-based NGOs, with whom we share a commitment to secure lasting change. CSC is an influential voice for effecting meaningful transformation where problems are most acute today – artisanal diamond communities.
“We are confident that together all KP members – industry, civil society and governments – will fulfill our shared duty of care owed to every individual touched by diamonds – from miners and their families to the end consumers that purchase diamond products and every person in between.”