WDC President Says KP Plenary Meeting in Delhi Could Be a “Watershed Moment” for Industry
World Diamond Council President Stephane Fischler has said that the organisation remains firmly committed to going beyond the “currently limited ‘conflict diamonds’ definition” followed by the Kimberley Process.
Writing in a blog on the WDC site, he states that at the forthcoming KP Plenary Meeting scheduled to be held in New Delhi from November 18-22, the organisation will seek to win support for its call to broaden the scope of the term that has till now defined the operations of the tripartite coalition.
The meeting, which marks the end of the KP’s three-year review and reform cycle, could prove to be a “watershed moment” for the body that was launched at the start of 2003 to ensure that diamonds whose proceeds were fuelling civil war against legitimate governments were kept out of the pipeline, he pointed out.
The President of the body that represents the diamond industry as an observer in the KP said, “Recognizing the outdated definition, the World Diamond Council (WDC), along with civil society and a number of government representatives, are insisting that it be amended to include instances of unacceptable violence in the supply chain during peacetime as well.”
Stating that participants are sharing and promoting last-minute positions, during bilateral meetings in different parts of the world and at a number of strategically scheduled conferences, attended by many of the key players, Fischler said that there are at least three proposals for change that are likely to be tabled at the Plenary.
One was formulated by the WDC together with the Civil Society Coalition and has been tabled by the Government of Canada, while others have been proposed by Botswana and the Russian Federation. “It is not yet clear which, if any of them, will be approved in New Delhi,” Fischler adds.
He concludes by saying that though the industry representatives participate in KP Committees, they are passive players, in that only governments have the right to vote on crucial decisions. In this context he adds, “While we do not have a final say on the future scope of KP certification, we most definitely are able to set responsible industry standards for the goods reaching the market. The new WDC System of Warranties (SoW), which applies to all rough and polished diamonds handled by the trade, requires a commitment by companies to adhere to WDC Guidelines. These go beyond the KP’s currently limited “conflict diamonds” definition, expressly referencing international conventions relating to human and labor rights, anti-corruption and anti-money laundering (AML).”