The Kimberley Process started when Southern African diamond-producing states met in Kimberley, South Africa, in May 2000, to discuss ways to stop the trade in ‘conflict diamonds’ and ensure that diamond purchases were not financing violence by rebel movements and their allies seeking to undermine legitimate governments.
In December 2000, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a landmark resolution supporting the creation of an international certification scheme for rough diamonds. By November 2002, negotiations between governments, the international diamond industry and civil society organisations resulted in the creation of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) . The KPCS document sets out the requirements for controlling rough diamond production and trade. The KPCS entered into force in 2003, when participating countries started to implement its rules.
Who is involved?
The Kimberley Process (KP) is open to all countries that are willing and able to implement its requirements. The KP has 54 participants, representing 81 countries, with the European Union and its Member States counting as a single participant. KP members account for approximately 99.8% of the global production of rough diamonds. In addition, the World Diamond Council, representing the international diamond industry, and civil society organisations, such as Partnership-Africa Canada, participate in the KP and have played a major role since its outset.
How does the Kimberley Process work?
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) imposes extensive requirements (*) on its members to enable them to certify shipments of rough diamonds as ‘conflict-free’ and prevent conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate trade. Under the terms of the KPCS, participating states must meet ‘minimum requirements’ and must put in place national legislation and institutions; export, import and internal controls; and also commit to transparency and the exchange of statistical data. Participants can only legally trade with other participants who have also met the minimum requirements of the scheme, and international shipments of rough diamonds must be accompanied by a KP certificate guaranteeing that they are conflict-free.
The Kimberley Process is chaired, on a rotating basis, by participating countries. So far, South Africa, Canada, Russia, Botswana, the European Union, India, Namibia, Israel, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United States of America, South Africa, the Republic of China have chaired the KP, and Angola is the Chair in 2015. KP participating countries and industry and civil society observers gather twice a year at intersessional and plenary meetings, as well as in working groups and committees that meet on a regular basis. Implementation is monitored through ‘review visits’ and annual reports as well as by regular exchange and analysis of statistical data.