General Assembly backs Kimberley Process to prevent diamonds from funding conflict
4 December 2006 – The General Assembly today passed a resolution backing the Kimberley Process, a global initiative involving governments, the international diamond industry and civil society aimed at preventing so-called “conflict diamonds” from funding warfare and civil unrest.
The resolution was adopted after the 192 Member States were briefed by President Festus Gontebanye Mogae of Botswana, which holds this year’s Chair of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme that imposes extensive requirements on participants to certify that shipments of rough diamonds are free from conflict diamonds.
“The General Assembly, recognizing that the trade in conflict diamonds continues to be a matter of serious international concern, which can be directly linked to the fuelling of armed conflict… reaffirms its strong and continuing support for the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and the Kimberley Process as a whole,” it stated.
The resolution also recognized that the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme can help to ensure that Security Council’s resolutions containing sanctions on the trade in conflict diamonds are carried out, while helping to prevent future conflicts.
The Assembly resolution also supported a decision taken by a meeting of the Kimberley Process earlier this month calling for “stronger internal control” standards for participants in the process –– who now number 47 representing 71 countries –– as well as for clearer guidance on implementing effective controls from the mining to the export of diamonds.
President Mogae’s briefing to the Assembly also included a 2006 progress report on the Kimberly Process, which concluded that it was working well although there were still some problems, particularly in Côte d’Ivoire and South America.
“Some of Côte d’Ivoire’s neighbours are not Kimberley Process Participants and, therefore, the Kimberley Process has relatively limited influence over such countries. The Kimberley Process views the problem of leakage diamonds from Côte d’Ivoire into the legitimate trade as one that may require a regional approach to resolve,” the report stated.
“The other area where there are challenges that require a regional approach is in South America, and specifically concerning Brazil, Guyana and Venezuela,” it said, adding that “all countries” in both regions were encouraged to join the Process as recommended by the Security Council.
Speaking to reporters after briefing the Assembly, President Mogae acknowledged there was still work to do with the Kimberley Process but highlighted also its successes.
“Before the Certification Scheme it was reported that conflict diamonds were possibly about 4 per cent of global production. Now with Certification we have admitted in my report that …we are glad to say that they are now less than 1 per cent,” he said.
Begun in 2000 by southern African diamond-producing countries, the Kimberley Process led to the adoption in November 2002 in Interlaken, Switzerland, of the international Certification Scheme for rough diamonds, based primarily on national certification schemes and on internationally-agreed minimum standards.
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