The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KP) is an international governmental certification scheme which was set up to prevent the trade in diamonds that fund conflict. As of 2011 the KPCS counted 75 countries as members, including all major diamond-producing, trading and processing countries.
The campaign to expose the role of diamonds in funding conflict began in 1998, which built up international pressure against the trade in so-called 'blood diamonds'. However, it was a meeting in 2000 in Kimberley, South Africa between NGOs, the major diamond trading and producing countries and representatives of the diamond industry which launched the three-year negotiating process which led to the establishment of the international diamond certification scheme.
The Kimberley Process was endorsed by the United National General Assembly (UNGA) and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and launched in January 2003.
The Kimberley Process requires participating governments to certify the origin of rough diamonds and put in place effective controls to prevent conflict stones from entering the supply chain. Participant countries must:
- enact domestic legislation to implement the scheme.
- only trade rough diamonds (a diamond which has not yet been cut) with other members.
Given the structure of the KP, NGOs and the diamond industry also enjoy official status as observers and take part, along with member states, in all working groups and decision making processes.
Progress and Limitations
Ernst Blom, of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses, commented in 2010 that the KP had succeeded in its aims. However in recent years, some critics have questioned the legitimacy of the KP Process. A 2010 Global Witness report claimed that diamonds continued to fund conflicts in Angola, the Cote d'Ivoire, Sierra Leone and the DRC. Zimbabwe was highlighted in particular for criticism, with Global Witness asserting that the military and political elite continued to exploit the country's diamond wealth, often by force.
Non-governmental organisation Global Witness has voiced concerns that the KP risks becoming "little more than a talking shop" and has called for a serious renewal of political will on the part of member governments and the diamond industry.
An Intersessional meeting of the KP in Kinshasha in June 2011, intended to get the Process back on track, was boycotted by many international and Zimbabwean NGOs in protest against the watchdog organization's failure to deal decisively with human rights issues in Zimbabwe's Marange diamond field. Earlier in the year, DRC Mines Minister and KP Chairman Mathieu Yamba had allowed the sale of Marange diamonds without Kimberley oversight. One NGO Regional Coordinator warned that unless Kimberley takes a firm stance on Marange it will continue to implode.
The Kimberley Process around the world
Main article: Kimberley Process in Ghana
Official Website: www.kimberleyprocess.com