WDC will lobby for broader definition of "conflict diamonds" at OECD meetApril 21, 19
On April 23, the 13th OECD Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains will take place in Paris, France.
The World Diamond Council (WDC) will be an active participant at the event and during the event the Ad Hoc Committee of the Kimberley Process (KP) will also meet.
In a blog, WDC Stephane Fischler emphasized the increasing importance of the OECD forum to the mineral extraction industry, noting that the event now ranks "high on the WDC's agenda."
"As the Paris forum grew, OECD's due diligence guidance for minerals from high-risk areas evolved into an industry standard. Today it is closely associated with a range of associated systems and statutes, among them the new conflict minerals legislation in the European Union," Fischler wrote.
On April 24, at a deep dive session, the forum will "take stock of recent standard-making developments in upstream and downstream diamond supply chains, and more specifically look at the RJC's revised Code of Practices and the WDC's new System of Warranties (SoWs) Guidelines."
"While somewhat narrower in focus than that of the OECD's full due diligence guidance, it is our strong contention that the SoWs are a crucial component for implementing the OECD system in the diamond supply chain, irrespective of the size or nature of the company involved. To no small degree this is because the SoWs recognize that 'conflict diamonds' include more than just goods traded to finance civil war, but also comprise diamonds associated with other instances of grave and systemic violence, including acts carried out by public and private security forces in gross violation of human and labor rights, or serving the interests of corrupt public servants. We strongly believe that by eliminating such systemic violence, the formalization of artisanal miners will be encouraged, resulting in improved working conditions, better revenues at the grass-roots level, sustainable economic opportunities and improved environmental management," the WDC President wrote.
"It is our fervent hope that the broader understanding of the term â€˜conflict diamondsâ€™ contained in the SoWs will come to be accepted by the Kimberley Process, and we plan to advocate this position during the meetings of the KP Ad Hoc Committee on Reform and Review on April 25 and 26. We are also lobbying for a strengthening of the standards and modalities currently in place within the KP, like the peer review mechanisms, better data gathering and the establishment of a permanent KP Secretariat."
"All this should be achieved within the content of the KP's proven tripartite structure, involving government, industry and civil society. Reform cannot be imposed. It should be introduced in a spirit of cooperation and fairness, with a consistent commitment to strive for better. As the participation of so many artisanal miners at the OECD forum underscores, it is ultimately people and their well-being that are the focus of our deliberations. By acting transparently and adhering to the rule of law, the interests of both business and society are served. The WDC will remain a fully committed partner in all these forums," Fischler stated.