2 February 2017, New York – Statement on behalf of the European Union by Adebayo Babajide, Minister Counsellor, Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the United Nations General Assembly 71st session, plenary meeting on Agenda item 30: The Role of Diamonds in fuelling conflict
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The European Union and its Member States, which act as a single Participant in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), would like in the first place to congratulate the United Arab Emirates for its Chairmanship of the Kimberley Process, and to welcome the results achieved towards strengthening the Kimberley Process and to confront the challenges of the future.
It is my pleasure to confirm that the EU has been selected as the chair of the Kimberley Process in 2018. The EU has been deeply committed to the creation and the success of the Kimberley Process since its very beginning in 2003. Throughout the life of the Kimberley Process, we have been actively engaged in KP committees and working groups, and collaborated closely with our KP partners by participating in and leading KP review visits. In the course of the EU’s KP Chairmanship in 2018, we will seek to build on this experience, to forge consensus amongst all KP Participants to further strengthen and improve the KP for the benefit of all those involved in supply chain – from diamond miners, traders and consumers.
In our view, one of the unique features of the KP is its tripartite structure. Both industry and civil society are essential elements of the KP and have contributed much to its establishment and operation. In this respect, the EU calls on all Participants and Observers to recognise the full range of opinions within the KP and continue working together to further enhance the Scheme’s effectiveness and credibility. In particular, we rely on a close working relationship with all of our partners in the Civil Society Coalition to ensure the KP remains an effective tool for peace building and conflict prevention, to monitor the efficacy of the KP in diamond mining communities across the globe, and to continue to challenge us to do more and do better. We will continue to rely on that relationship to ensure KP remains an effective tool in the future.
As Chair of the KP Working Group on Monitoring, the EU has actively contributed to strengthening the implementation of the KPCS and encourages Participants to continue committing themselves to enhanced scrutiny through KP peer review visits as well as to substantive annual reports. The EU would in particular like to express appreciation to Lesotho, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Belarus, Turkey, Cameroon and India for having hosted review visits in 2016 and to Norway, Togo, Ghana, Panama, Brazil, Lao PDR, Mauritius, Israel and Botswana for having invited review visits in 2017, noting that the AD on Peer Review calls for all KP Participants to host a review visit every three years.
We firmly believe that the consistent use of these implementation tools will strengthen the KP’s ability to tackle illicit trade in conflict diamonds and calls on all Participants to step up efforts in this respect. In this context, we have promoted the development of a guidance note on the organisation and conduct of review visits, which shall serve as a practical tool for both review visit team members and host participants to be able to prepare the review visits in an ideal way.
The EU has served as Chair of the KP Working Group on Monitoring for over 13 years. In this role, we have worked to forge consensus on handling of delicate issues relating to the trade in rough diamonds. Together with members of the Working Group on Monitoring we have worked to reinforce the integrity of the KP system, and sought to ensure the KP emerges from new challenges strengthened and re-inforced. Looking now to the future, following the rotation of Chairs of the KP working bodies, the EU congratulates the newly selected Chair South Africa, and Vice-Chair Botswana. The EU has full trust and confidence in the leadership and vision of South Africa and Botswana in giving renewed impetus to this important work.
The EU strongly welcomes the significant progress in the Central African Republic, especially the trojan efforts of the Kimberley Process Monitoring Team. The declaration of four sub-prefectures as “compliant zones” is a milestone in the country’s developments and we positively note the Central African Republic’s initiative to engage in cooperation with neighbouring countries and their continued work with several actors of the international community.
The EU also welcomes the readmission of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the Kimberley Process. We believe that this was an important step and we encourage the country’s KP authorities to further ensure compliance with the minimal requirements.
Furthermore, the EU welcomes the recent steps taken by the Mano River Union countries in West-Africa to implement the regional approach initiative as highlighted by the United Nations Security Council in Resolution 2153 (2014), which lifted the embargo on the export of rough diamonds from Côte d’Ivoire. The EU welcomes especially the continuous support to the Mano River Union countries provided by the Working Group on Monitoring Technical Team and the “Friends of MRU” group, in particular ongoing efforts to formalise the role of the Mano River Union Secretariat and involve other implementing partners.
In 2016, the efforts to prevent diamonds from fuelling conflicts and ultimately contribute to economic and social development, particularly in developing countries, have continued. In this context, the EU welcomes the KP commitment to the ongoing implementation of the Washington Declaration on integrating development and artisanal and small-scale diamond mining as well as the Moscow Declaration on improving internal controls over alluvial diamond production in the Kimberley Process.
The EU welcomes that over the past twelve months the issue of valuation of rough diamonds, in particular the development of a uniform methodology has been treated with high priority. We strongly support the efforts of the KP towards creating fair living conditions for people at the beginning of the diamond pipeline, namely artisanal and alluvial miners in development countries.
Another important initiative that we highly valued was the direct engagement with the Financial Action Task Force on their report related to risks in the diamond supply chain. We would welcome a continuation of this fruitful engangement as part of ongoing efforts to further strengthen KP implementation.
The EU would like to express its gratitude to the United Arab Emirates for its stewardship of the Process last year. We now welcome Australia as the current KP Chair, and welcome its vision as Chair for 2017 to further strengthen the KP implementation and ensuring the trade in rough diamonds is used for the benefit of all people.
We very much welcome and support the priorities Australia has outlined for its Chairmanship and we would encourage Australia to ensure the KP renews its engagement with the Civil Society Coalition in order to re-establish the tripartite nature in the Kimberley Process.
The EU looks forward to working closely both with Australia and India in a troika of KP Chairs to deliver on a consistent work programme that will prepare the KP for the challenges of the future.
Thank you, Mr. President.
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