(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK — The World Diamond Council (WDC) , an industry group focused on preventing conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate global supply chain and protecting the value of natural diamonds, called for an open discussion around Kimberley Process reform at the KP Plenary meeting to be held in Brisbane, Australia December 9 – 14, 2017. As the voice of the diamond industry, the WDC is calling for all KP participants to join together in a productive dialogue on the issues facing the Kimberley Process to ensure it can continue its mission and deliver the duty of care owed to communities and consumers with respect to conflict-free diamonds.
The WDC also launched this week a new version of diamondfacts.org to share new and updated facts and information about the benefits that diamonds bring to local communities around the world .
Stephane Fischler, Acting President of the WDC said, “With the KP, we have much to be proud of having virtually eliminated conflict diamonds from the legitimate supply chain. But our job is not over and we have more to do together to evolve the efficiency of decision making within the KP in order to maintain credibility and effect meaningful change in our shared goal of conflict resolution . I would call on all KP participants to treat this matter with a sense of urgency and ensure that our time together at the KP Plenary results in the positive outcomes that I know are possible if we all work together toward this common goal. ”
The WDC reaffirms the importance of the KP and the WDC System of Warranties (SoW) as a critical tool in the fight against conflict diamonds and believes there are three areas in need of reform to ensure its continued success. These include:
1. Broadening the scope of the KP with in the debate on the expansion of the definition of conflict diamonds. WDC promotes the idea of making changes in a tangible way with the aim of strengthening the KPCS. The WDC is ready to participate in any expansion of the scope, based on suggestions from KP Participants. This step will increase the likelihood of safe and secure working conditions, fair labor practices and sustainable development in diamond communities.
2. Establish a permanent secretariat based in a neutral country. This will ensure preservation of institutional memory, dedicated staffing , technical and administrative support of the daily work of the KP and its bodies , creation of a dedicated experts team to manage and effectively implement KP decisions and restrictions, restoration of KPCS implementation in sanctioned counties , securing the integrity and relevance of the KPCS as the only universal mechanism to ensure sustainable sourcing and enhancing the efficiency of the Peer review system , support for development projects in Participant countries, providing meaningful capacity building on the ground . All of these aspects are crucial to the implementation of the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme ( KPCS ) . The WDC recommends this secretariat be ready to act 24/7 on all KP matters and that the position be funded by KP Participants together with the Observers on voluntary basis .
3. Review the current KPCS core document and standards, with the goal of strengthening the KPCS minimum standards by making the peer review mechanism stronger.
Mr. Fischler concluded, “Ensuring that conflict diamonds remain out of the global supply chain is a responsibility that is shared by all parties, not just governments. That is why in addition to the KP’s scope, further implementation of the diamond industry’s system of self-regulation, the WDC SoW , is an important objective for us as it regulates diamonds from rough to polished and across the diamond pipeline.”
Diamond industry members of the WDC are close to finalizing the Guidelines which will serve to update the SoW. These Guidelines will be distributed for public review to Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and other interested parties in the Spring of 2018.