18 November 2016, Brussels – The Kimberley Process, the international initiative to stem the trade in conflict diamonds, has appointed the European Union as its Chair for 2018. Consistent with Kimberley Process rules, the EU will serve as Vice-Chair in 2017, during the Australian Chairmanship.
The European Union will have a unique opportunity to strengthen the effectiveness of the Kimberley Process as its Chair, in particular in the context of the upcoming reform process. During its Chairmanship, the EU will reinforce and promote an open dialogue among the three pillars that make up the Kimberley Process – Governments, industry and civil society.
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) was launched in 2002 by a unique coalition of governments, civil society and the diamond industry in response to the role of diamonds in funding some of the most devastating civil wars in Africa.
The KPCS sets out requirements for participating States to control all imports and exports of rough diamonds. The Scheme puts in place rigorous internal controls over production and trade. Participating States can only legally trade with other participating States who have also met the minimum requirements of the Scheme, and international shipments of rough diamonds must be accompanied by a KPCS Certificate guaranteeing that they are conflict-free.
The European Union has been at the forefront of the KPCS since the outset. The Union has been chairing the Working Group on Monitoring, overseeing the Scheme’s peer review mechanism and dealing with issues of non-compliance. The European Union last chaired the Kimberley Process in 2007.
Southern African diamond-producing states met in Kimberley, South Africa, in May 2000 to discuss ways to stop the trade in ‘conflict diamonds’ and to ensure that this trade was not fuelling violence by rebel movements.
In December 2000, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a landmark Resolution supporting the creation of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), which came into existence in 2003.
The Kimberley Process has 54 participating members, representing 81 countries, and more than 99% of global rough diamond production and trade.The EU is a single member of the Kimberley Process and is represented by the European Commission.
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