(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK — With 2017 Plenary Session of the Kimberley Process drawing to a close, the World Diamond Council (WDC), the industry representatives of the KP focused on preventing conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate global supply chain and protecting the value of diamonds, extended praise and gratitude to Participants at the gathering, for embracing the spirit of collaboration and open dialogue around KP reform.
“This week we spoke openly and transparently about areas of the KP in need of the most urgent reform, and I am pleased that we have come together and agreed the way forward for us both as the Kimberley Process and as the diamond industry,” said Stephane Fischler, Acting President of the WDC. “Many important proposals have now been agreed to, and we salute the positive and constructive spirit present during this Plenary that has contributed to secure these outcomes.”
Mr. Fischler spoke about the need for the diamond community to unite, to collaborate, and to act. “I keep using the same words, as I believe them to be key to our common future, and I think we have made great strides in this regard this week,” he said.
Stephane Fischler, Acting President, World Diamond Council, addresses participants at the 2017 KP Plenary Session in Brisbane, Australia
Photo by David Williams of Gilimbaa
During the Plenary session, Participants had engaging discussions about expanding the meaning and scope of conflict diamonds. The WDC remained firm that all KP Participants must do what is necessary to expand the scope in order to secure better governance, and the security and development of stakeholders, so as to ensure consumer confidence in diamonds. Consensus was reached on the creation of an Ad Hoc Review and Reform Committee, an important commitment according to the WDC.
“We have all agreed change is urgent and vital to meet consumer expectations and we look forward for the decisions made this week to be translated into meaningful progress,” added Mr. Fischler.
Also discussed this week was the need for a permanent secretariat, a crucial mechanism for strengthening the long-term implementation of the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme. Many internal and external of the KP have expressed a desire to improve the implementation of KP-approved decisions, more effectively restore KPCS implementation, and better support development projects in Participant countries. Having such a secretariat based in a neutral country will make this possible.
Finally, Participants shared a vision for KPCS reform with the goal of making it a lasting reality and strengthening the KPCS minimum standards, by making the peer review mechanism stronger.
Fischler added, “Disappointment is part of any process, but maintaining our commitment to progress is our duty. That is why we at WDC are saddened by IMPACT’s announcement today on their decision to leave the Civil Society Coalition (CSC), and therefore the KP family. Since IMPACT is one of many member organizations of the CSC, an important Observer group within the Kimberley Process tripartite structure, we are disappointed to hear that they will not be participating in the important upcoming reform discussions within the framework of the KP. We will miss their individual contributions; however, we welcome the fact that IMPACT will continue engaging with industry on our common goal to protect the integrity of the diamond value chain.”
Mr. Fischler expressed gratitude to the Chair of the KP for facilitating and leading the discussions at this year’s KP Plenary session. He acknowledged and thanked the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for organizing and hosting the successful event. He thanked the Chinese Participants for their impressive work on the Compendium on Rules and Procedures. Mr. Fischler also extended thanks to all the chairs of working groups for their leadership commitment and wished the European Union and India all the best as the KP Chairs for 2018 and 2019 respectively.
In his closing remarks, Mr. Fischler said, “While we are industry, more importantly we also represent the voice of our consumers. The KP is the backbone of the industry. We are proud of what is has achieved and are looking forward to working closely with governments to strengthen the protection and support for those most at risk. This is essential to maintain and grow consumer confidence in the industry and allow us all to build a stronger story together.”
Mr. Fischler added, “We realize that as the WDC we are an Observer, not a Participant. We don’t have a vote, but we do have a voice, and we intend to continue to use it. We look forward to the second of three years in this cycle of the KPCS review and you can count on the active participation and support of the WDC.”
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