I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union regarding agenda item 12, entitled “The role of diamonds in fuelling conflict”.
The European Union, which participates as a single member in the Kimberley Process, would like in the first place to welcome the results of the Swakopmund Plenary meeting in so far as they illustrate the Kimberley Process capacity to further adapt as an innovative instrument to prevent diamonds from fuelling conflicts.
The EU notes with satisfaction that the tools that make the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) so unique have been further strengthened during this last year. The Peer Review system has ensured continued monitoring of the Schemes implementation: Review visits to important trading and producing countries have been organized in 2009 including review visits to countries that have been affected by the scourge of conflict diamonds, such as Angola, the DRC, Sierra Leone and Liberia. I am also pleased to say that the EU, as the main trading centre in the world, received a review visit in February 2009 as a vivid illustration of its commitment to the KPCS. The EU, as Chair of the Monitoring Working Group, encourages the continued commitment of Participants to scrutiny through KP review visits.
The EU actively supports the KPs efforts to continue to adapt to a changing environment and notes with satisfaction the introduction of new types of KP measures, such as international vigilance measures making use of footprints of certain diamonds. The EU firmly believes that the consistent use of such tools will strengthen the KPs ability to tackle illicit trade in conflict diamonds. The EU also welcomes in this respect the Plenary decision to set up an expert team to address the challenges posed by cross-border internet trading.
The most vivid illustration of the KPs capacity to develop innovative solutions to address complex crises is provided by the Plenary decision and action plan to address Zimbabwe’s non-compliance in the Marange mining area. The EU looks forward to the implementation of Zimbabwe’s commitment to undertake a series of ambitious actions to bring diamond mining in Marange in compliance with KP minimum requirements and to subject exports of Marange diamonds to independent KP verification pending full compliance. The EU stands ready to contribute to the action plan as a key element to protect the integrity of the Kimberley process and ensure that Marange diamonds contribute to Zimbabwe’s economic development and do not fuel further violence and human rights violations. The EU further calls on KP Participants to improve regional cooperation and implement international vigilance measures in order to contain the flow of illicit diamonds from Marange.
The continuing KP engagement and monitoring of diamond production in Côte d’Ivoire, in light of UN Security Council Resolution 1893 (2009), further illustrates the positive role that the KP can play in concrete crisis where production and trade of diamonds might affect peace and security. The KP decision to increase oversight of Guinea’s diamond production and trade and continued engagement with Ghana and Liberia, in particular, underline the KPs efforts to support regional cooperation in this respect.
At the end of the day, however, the KPCSs credibility as an international process depends on effective implementation by its Participants. In this respect, the EU also welcomes the adoption of a decision regarding cooperation on KP implementation and enforcement that represents a significant step forward as it will foster greater cooperation between national agencies involved in the fight against infringements to KP rules and can indeed make a difference on the ground.
In 2009, the international community has demonstrated its determination to act collectively and constructively in response to challenges to the Kimberley Process and the EU would like to express its gratitude to Namibia for its stewardship of the Process in 2009. We now warmly welcome Israel as the upcoming KP Chair and look forward to working together to implement the Swakopmund decisions. We would also like to congratulate the Democratic Republic of Congo upon its selection as 2011 KP Chair.
Thank you, Mr. President.