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Commentary: The Business

Dorothée Gizenga: Gems of Peace

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The Business: Gems of peace

The artisanal diamond sector needs your support to develop healthily.

BY DOROTHÉE GIZENGA

Published in the April 2014 issue

The Diamond Development Initiative wants diamonds to symbolize not only love but partnership and trust between artisanal diamond miners and the broader diamond industry.

Artisanal miners produce about 10 to 16 percent of the diamonds in jewelry shops around the world, meaning they’re probably in your store. They are a key part of the diamond supply chain.

There are 1.5 million artisanal miners around the world. With proper governance and support artisanal diamond mining can become an economically viable, professional and formal sector.

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In 2003, the Kimberley Process was created to regulate the international trade of diamonds and to ensure that what we purchase around the world does not fuel wars. Better regulation is part of the answer, but the Kimberley Process does not handle the socioeconomic issues associated with artisanal diamond mining. Many of them require solutions that are developmental in nature: better pay, education, improved health and safety and no child labor.

DDI’s mission is to gather all interested parties, including miners, governments, development agencies and the diamond industry, to ensure artisanal miners become an appreciated part of the diamond value chain.

Among our policy work and on-the-ground projects are:

Development Diamond Standards: Based in Sierra Leone, this project is expected to result in the first-ever Development Diamonds, which are traceable to pilot sites where responsible mining operations have been verified.

 Registration of Artisanal Miners: As part of the formalization process DDI has been registering artisanal miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo. To date, 101,000 diamond miners have been registered in Kasai Province.

 Kimberley Process: DDI engages within the Kimberley Process to develop solutions for the artisanal diamond-mining sector.

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Many of the issues are developmental in nature: better pay, education, improved health and no child labor.” – DOROTHÉE GIZENGA

Retailers can play a crucial role in helping DDI make a difference:

1. Get informed and contribute to the debates about the artisanal sector, Kimberley Process and responsible mining and sourcing. DDI will soon be announcing a series of live webinars and other online educational programs on responsible mineral and gem sourcing, and in particular on sourcing rough diamonds from the artisanal diamond sector.

2. Push for standards, and in particular Development Diamond Standards, to be adopted in every alluvial diamond producing country, through Kimberley Process industry members and the World Diamond Council.

3. Make development count by conveying to suppliers that you are looking for diamonds that bring change on the ground.

4. Join the Friends of DDI program or support specific projects.

Diamonds might just be forever when love and prosperity are built on partnership and trust within the diamond family.

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DOROTHÉE GIZENGA is executive director of the Diamond Development Initiative. For more information, visit ddiglobal.org or email [email protected].

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