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KP not revising ‘conflict’ definition this year

2012-12-03

Washington, D.C.--The members of the Kimberley Process (KP) failed to reach an agreement on broadening the definition of “conflict diamond” at its annual plenary meeting held last week here.
 
According to official communication released after the meeting, the KP couldn’t reach a consensus--all members of the KP must agree in order for any issue to pass--on changing the definition following “lengthy discussions.”

Talks will continue in 2013. As voted on at the plenary, South Africa will chair the process in the coming year. China offered to be vice chair, an offer that is under consideration by the KP’s selection committee.

The KP also voted to discontinue the special monitoring of Zimbabwe’s Marange diamond fields adopted at the plenary last year.

Exports from the Marange fields were banned at one point following widespread reports of smuggling and violence against workers.

At its plenary last year, the KP voted to allow to exports to resume from two mines but also appointed two monitors to oversee operations in Marange. The monitors had to visit and approve exports from additional mines individually.

The regular monitoring in relation to Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) compliance that applies to all KP participants will continue.

The KP was deadlocked over the Marange issue for two years. In the end, the United States abstained from voting on the resumption of exports. It also was part of the reason human rights advocacy group Global Witness decided to leave the process.

Zimbabwe also won approval to join a number of KP committees, including the Committee on Rules and Procedures, the Working Group of Diamonds Experts, the Working Group on Monitoring and the Participation Committee and was accepted as guest participant in the Committee on KPCS Review (CKR), normally comprised of only current and past chairs. CKR guest invitations also were extended to Angola, Brazil, China, Ghana, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.

The United States chaired the KP this year and made broadening the definition of conflict diamond to include diamond-related violence in rough producing and trading areas one of its main objectives. The current meaning, drafted following the civil wars that took place in Africa in the 1990s, limited the definition to rough stones used by rebel movements to fund wars against legitimate governments.

However, as the plenary approached, KP Chairman Gillian Milovanovic, a U.S. ambassador, said in an interview that they didn’t expect the proposal to pass this year but hoped to see “progress” that could be carried into next year.

While the definition of conflict did not change, the plenary did approve the adoption of a permanent, secretarial body for the organization, an objective the KP has been working toward for a number of years.

The World Diamond Council was selected to operate the Administrative Support Mechanism (ASM) for one year, beginning on Jan. 1, 2013. No individuals who are working for the ASM are allowed to serve on a KP committee. 

The functionality of the ASM will be evaluated at the 2013 intersessional meeting.

Also during the plenary, the KP:
-- Admitted Panama, Kazakhstan and Cambodia as new KP participants and welcomed the August admission of Cameroon as well; 
-- Admitted the African Diamond Producers Association (ADPA) as an independent observer;
-- Laid out a plan for the possible reintegration of Venezuela, which voluntarily withdrew from the process in 2008, that includes the country submitting accurate rough export statistics and the completion of a review mission. If these steps aren’t taken by April 1, 2013, then Venezuela may be kicked out of the KP.
-- Acknowledged the steps taken by Côte d’Ivoire to ensure compliance with KPCS minimum standards.