Video copyright: EU - By courtesy DG RELEX, European Commission
The European Union urges Kimberley Process participants and Zimbabwe to intensify their efforts to find consensus on further actions to bring mining operations in Zimbabwe's Marange diamond fields in compliance with minimum standards. The appeal comes after the meeting last week did not produce results.
A meeting of the Kimberley Process (KP), the international scheme against conflict diamonds, was held in Tel Aviv (Israel) from 21 to 24 June 2010 and focused in particular on the implementation of KP minimum standards in Marange diamond fields, with the aim to reach a consensus on the way forward. The EU now hopes that KP Participants and Zimbabwe will intensify their efforts in order to find this consensus, in the spirit of dialogue and cooperation that has always presided over the Kimberley Process.
The EU regrets the current impasse which undermines the Kimberley Process, the credibility of governance in Zimbabwe and the reputation of the legitimate international diamond industry.
The EU also calls on Zimbabwe to maintain a firm commitment to the Kimberley Process and to pursue vigorously all necessary actions to bring all mining operations in the Marange fields into full compliance with KP requirements. The EU is concerned that the arrest of NGO representative Farai Maguwu in Zimbabwe following the meeting with the KP Monitor has overshadowed the meeting in Tel Aviv and calls for Zimbabwe to confirm its commitment to the role of civil society in the KP.
What is the Kimberley process?
The Kimberley Process grew out of discussions in May 2000 in Kimberley, South Africa among interested governments, the international diamond industry and civil society, as a unique initiative to combat ‘conflict diamonds’ – rough diamonds used to finance devastating conflicts in some of Africa’s diamond-producing countries.
In November 2002, an agreement was reached on the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS): an innovative system imposing extensive requirements on all Participants to control all imports and exports of rough diamonds and to put in place rigorous internal controls over production and trade to ensure that conflict diamonds could not enter the legal diamond trade. In a few years, the Kimberley Process has helped to reduce the amount of conflict diamonds to a tiny fraction of world trade. The Kimberley Process is backed by the United Nations; and the General Assembly renewed its support most recently in December 2009.
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme now has 49 Participants (equalling 75 countries with the European Union counting as a single Participant), including all major diamond producing, trading and polishing centres, and counts on the active participation of civil society and industry groups.
To ensure the effectiveness of the Kimberley Process, its requirements – including effective internal controls over diamond production and trade – must be applied in full by all Participants. The Kimberley Process has developed a number of tools to enable assessment of implementation and to address any issues which may arise. These tools include regular statistical reporting, annual reports and other compliance verification measures, such as review missions.
In response to ‘indications of serious non-compliance’ since late 2008 in the Marange diamond mining area in Zimbabwe, the KP adopted in its Plenary meeting in November 2009 the Swakopmund Decision and Joint Work Plan providing for ambitious actions to bring diamond mining in Marange into compliance. The Tel Aviv Intersessional meeting reviewed its implementation and discussed plans for certification of certain diamonds mined in Marange, but could not reach consensus on the way ahead, despite real effort by the KP Chair.
The recent arrest of Farai Maguwu, director of CRD (an NGO in Zimbabwe), following his meeting with the KP’s appointed Monitor in Zimbabwe, was an issue of particular concern for some participants and observers, and formed part of the context of the Tel Aviv meeting.