Cecilia Gardner stepping down from the WDC

SourcingJun 25, 2015

Cecilia Gardner stepping down from the WDC

Jewelers Vigilance Committee President Cecilia Gardner is leaving her post as general counsel of the World Diamond Council, the organization that represents the diamond industry in the Kimberley Process.

Luanda, Angola--Cecilia Gardner is leaving her post as general counsel of the World Diamond Council, National Jeweler has learned.

In an email sent from Angola Friday where she was attending the Kimberley Process intersessional meeting, Gardner, who’s also president of the U.S.’s Jewelers Vigilance Committee, said “very positive reasons” fueled her decision to step down after 15 years. 

“The association has matured, has professional staff (and) better engagement by the members in the substantive work of the KP,” she said. 

The WDC is the body that represents the diamond industry in the KP, the process formed to stem the flow of “blood” or “conflict” diamonds into the trade. It is headed by President Edward Asscher and, late last year, hired its first full-time salaried executive director, Patricia Syvrud.

In a separate email, Asscher said that Gardner received “warm words of praise” from the KP chair at the intersessional for her work over the years with the Kimberley Process. He said the WDC plans to appoint a new counsel.

Gardner has been involved with the KP since its inception in 2000. She remains the general counsel to the U.S. Kimberley Process Authority Institute.

News of Gardner’s resignation came as the KP closed out the first of its two major annual meetings, its intersessional.

Among the issues the KP is debating this year is its leadership, as its member nations remain divided on naming a vice chair for 2015.

When the KP’s 2014 plenary meeting ended in Guangzhou, China, nations including Russia, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo backed the election of the United Arab Emirates as vice chair, while the United States, Israel, Canada and Botswana voted for Australia.

As a complete consensus is needed for the KP to make any decisions, it has been operating without a vice chair this year.

Asscher said the KP will elect a chair and vice chair for 2016 at its plenary meeting in the fall.

Other issues discussed at the intersessional, according to Asscher, include preparing a monitoring system for the Central African Republic. The Central African Republic was suspended from the KP in May 2013 when news surfaced that rebels had used proceeds from diamond sales to take control of the government.

The KP’s next major meeting, its plenary, is scheduled to take place in November in Angola.

Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

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