From the KPI: Nothing is done to expanding the KP's scope, NGO leader saysJune 18, 19
Shamiso Mtisi, the Zimbabwean lawyer who heads the Kimberley Process (KP) Civil Society Coalition (CSC), was one of the three speakers who addressed the Opening Session of the Kimberley Process Intersessional Meeting (KPI) on June 17, in Mumbai, India.
In his address Mtisi noted that this year is the KP's last chance, in the current reform cycle, to cut the diamond sector's ties to what is considered by both consumers and communities to be blood diamonds. He said that "despite two and a half years since KP reform discussions started in Australia, there has still been no substantive discussion on proposals or content regarding expanding the KP's scope, nor on mechanisms to enable it to address emerging issues, like violence and conflict in an impartial and effective manner."
Time should not be wasted, Mtisi warned. "Consumer resistance to unethically mined diamonds and millennial demands for clean diamonds is real and not imagined. Where diamond production involves conflict or violence, it threatens both KP relevance and long-term revenues - that is, sustainable development for producer states. It does so by fueling ethical concerns about the sector as a whole. The damage here is not limited to those countries where these issues arise."
The African producing states are the ones that stand to lose the most and are facing two major threats: The failure of the KP to address serious ethical issues and the rise of synthetic diamonds, Mtisi said.
He emphasized that the responsibility for KP reform lies with the participating governments. "So far, many participants have been shielded or benefited from the impact of consumer preferences for ethical stones. Changing dynamics in the luxuries market and for the jewelry sector suggest that this will not last," he warned.
"The KP CSC has been calling for reform for years now. But since the start of this reform cycle you have also heard the World Diamond Council (WDC) and the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) supporting a broader conflict diamond definition. The KP's observers are there to ensure this mechanism's - and by extension, the diamond sector's - health. They are the canary in the mine. We caution you to listen!"
The CSC leader said that contributions have been made by participants and observers on the issue of scope. "These provide a rich basis for further deliberation, and it is the KP CSC's hope that African Diamond Producers Association (ADPA) will sit at the table and likewise contribute ideas as they await approval from the African Council of Ministers. Their input is vitally important and should not be ignored. In this regard we encourage ADPA to reach out to different groups including civil society on this matter if the need arises."