2024 KP Chair’s opening remarks in Dubai

The Civil Society Coalition (CSC) extends its congratulations to Honourable Ahmed Bin Sulayem on the start of his second term as Kimberley Process (KP) Chair.

As the United Arab Emirates assumes KP chairmanship, we encourage you to prioritise accelerating KP reform efforts and addressing critical issues such as human rights violations, transparency, traceability, and the fight against money laundering in the diamond trade. The Civil Society Coalition is committed to working collaboratively with you to make the diamond industry fair, sustainable, and ethical for all.

The diamond industry is facing significant challenges today. Associations with conflict and despair are back at the forefront. Communities living among diamond riches fail to see and feel any benefits. Only with serious reform will the KP be able to turn the tide.

The KP Civil Society Coalition (CSC) has been advocating for KP reform for a long time and is concerned that the much-needed reforms will once again not get a fair chance. In this way, the KP risks undermining the foundations of the industry it claims to protect. For over 20 years, the narrow definition of conflict diamonds has been a contentious issue, and it’s more than time to bring the Kimberley Process (KP) up to date with the current reality.

Implementing the Frame7 Responsible Sourcing Principles is critical and urgent. These are nice words on paper, but they need to be turned into action to have any impact. Therefore, we urge all KP participants to incorporate Frame7 into their peer review process, enabling progress to be reported annually and evaluated during peer review visits.

Civil society is disappointed with the KP’s inability to seriously examine its current and potential contribution to exacerbating or mitigating ongoing conflicts, in particular, Russia’s war against Ukraine and the long-lasting conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR). How can the KP be taken seriously if it can’t even discuss the role of diamonds in financing the Russia-Ukraine war?

What role does the KP still play in preventing conflicts if it can’t have a single constructive discussion on developing a way forward for the CAR? To break this stalemate, we must adopt a comprehensive roadmap for CAR that includes continuous monitoring, technical assistance, on-the-ground reviews, and improved regional cooperation between mining authorities, law enforcement, industry, and civil society.

On the positive side, the current diamond sector crisis is giving a much-needed push forward to efforts to improve traceability. Without knowing where a diamond is from, one cannot credibly claim it has done good or stopped diamonds from causing conflict or human rights violations.

The KP is currently complicating rather than facilitating efforts to make the diamond supply chain more transparent. The widely-used mixed origin certificates blind jewellers and consumers who want to make sure their purchases don’t contribute to harm. Another approach is possible, and developing it should be a priority for the KP.

Our last plenary meeting in Zimbabwe brought to light a critical issue that we must address, although we unfortunately did not agree on the final communique. It’s time to genuinely reorient the KP towards communities, making them the primary beneficiaries of this process. We still hope diamond-affected communities will have a place in a dedicated KP special forum.

This can, however, not be a one-off exercise. Still, it should be a profound and ongoing effort to address the root causes of poverty, neglect, and desperation among communities living in or near diamond mining operations. It’s only through these efforts that we can make the KP relevant once again.

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