WDC President: Diamond mining revenues must filter back to the grass roots of the mining communitiesJune 17, 19
Speaking at the opening session of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme Intersessional Meeting (KPI) in Mumbai, World Diamond Council (WDC) President Stephane Fischler has called on Kimberley Process-member governments to do what is necessary to safeguard the interests of their mining communities and consequently optimize the developmental potential of their natural resources.
"We must agree that the Kimberley Process should ensure that each government takes responsibility to ensure a chain of provenance, earning the trust of consumers wherever they are, and in so doing produce the revenues that must filter back to the grass roots of the mining communities," Fischler stated.
Historically, he noted, one of the most critical factors determining whether a country's economy can take advantage of the potential offered by its rough diamond deposits, is the relative absence of ongoing conflict and violence.
"There is a dramatic disparity between the development level of those countries and the others that suffered the tragedy of civil war, Fischler continued. "Only today are some slowly realizing the opportunities that their commodities could offer, in helping maintain the peace and allowing for nation building."
The KPI of 2019 is one of two gatherings of all KP participants that will take place in India this year. It is the final year of a three-year reform and review process underway in the organization. "The Kimberley Process has today a one-time opportunity to make a difference in those countries where the diamond industry has not yet met its developmental potential," the WDC President noted.
Mr. Fischler delineated the elements that distinguish review from reform. Reform, he said, involves enhancing internal processes, so that the KP can "make better use of the instruments we ourselves have created, or will create in the future, for the benefit of the members, to generate a more efficient and effective organization." These, he said, include a simplified and more consistent core document, a strengthened peer-review mechanism, the creation of a permanent secretariat, and the establishment of a multi-donor fund to ensure that all participants are capable of being fully active within the KP.
Reform is a more fundamental process, the WDC President stressed, noting that in its case industry believes the definition of what constitutes "conflict diamonds" should be expanded. "We strongly believe that, by helping eliminate the trade in diamonds directly associated with instances of systemic violence, we can bring about a more responsible and ethical mining sector, thus enabling a fairer distribution of the benefits delivered to millions of people," he stated.
While the diamond industry and civil society will do all that they can to support constructive change as observers in the KP, ultimately it will be up to governments to reach consensus on the review and reform that is required, Mr. Fischler said.
Prior to the opening session, the WDC hosted an Observers' Forum with the other official observers in the KP, including the Civil Society Coalition (CSC), the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) and the African Diamond Producers Association (ADPA).
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