Mumbai : Kimberley Process Intersessional Meeting 2019 begins in Mumbai
“Even a single conflict diamond is one too many. India will play an active role in the evolution and transformation of the Kimberley Process, in the transition from conflict diamonds to peace diamonds. The 4Cs (Cut, Clarity, Colour & Carat) of diamond may soon be expanded to 5Cs with the 5th C being ‘Conflict-free’. And the 5Ps of diamond marketing (Precious, Popular, Prestige, Priceless) will include ‘Peace’ diamonds”. This was stated by Director General, Directorate General of Foreign Trade, Shri Alok Vardhan Chaturvedi, at the opening session of the Kimberley Process Intersessional Meeting 2019, in Mumbai on Monday.
According to PIB (Press Information Bureau) Sources, The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) Intersessional Meeting 2019 is an annual mid-year event of KPCS, which unites administrations, civil societies and diamond industry in reducing the flow of conflict diamonds used to finance wars against governments around the world. India is the KP chair for 2019 and is hosting the KP Intersessional meeting in Mumbai during June 17 – 21, 2019.
Shri Alok Vardhan Chaturvedi, KP Chair (India) and Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) hosted and addressed KP participants from 82 countries including the US, Russian Federation, European Union, Africa, Canada, China, Israel, Japan, Singapore, Australia, UAE, New Zealand, South Africa, South Asia, etc. Mr. Stephane Fischler (President, World Diamond Council) and Mr. Shamiso Mtisi (Coordinator of the KP Civil Society Coalition) also addressed the inaugural session. The Kimberley Process Chairmanship 2019 India event is organized by the Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India; and co-organised by KP Exporting/ Importing Authority – Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC).
The DG said that diamonds which were called blood or conflict diamonds have been almost completely excluded from global trade. Every rough diamond is accompanied by a certificate confirming its non-conflict origin, and export-import procedures in most of the countries are now subject to rigorous control.
Shri Chaturvedi noted that the international diamond industry has welcomed the adoption of the resolution by the United Nations General Assembly on March 1, 2019 which calls for strengthening of KP to more effectively sever the link between illicit transaction of diamonds and conflict. He added, “India, as KP Chair would continue to work with the Governments, international diamond industry and civil society towards building consensus and strengthening KP. KP Intersessional meet will help in creating a clear & concise Core Document, enhancing KP standards and modalities with peer review mechanism; raising the level of representation and participation; improving the gathering and flow of essential data amongst other key goals.”
Noting that the Kimberley Process (KP) has improved the lives of most people dependent on the industry, he said that India is committed to make this process stronger in terms of inclusiveness, strengthened administration and implementation, efficiency in delivery and transparent and empathetic approach towards lives of the people dependent on the production, trade and manufacture of diamonds.
He stated that India is one of the prominent members of KP Certification Scheme. As the largest manufacturing centre and major importer of rough diamonds, India has a unique position in between producers of rough diamonds and consumers of cut and polished diamonds. Importance of KPCS is immense to India, with more than 1 million people being directly employed by the industry and with diamond exports amounting to more than US dollar 24 billion, he said.
Shri Chaturvedi said that the international community has set in motion a historic plan to build a more prosperous, more equivalent and more secure world by 2030. Government of India is strongly committed to the 2030 agenda, including the 17 SDGs. He said that the philosophy of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas for inclusive development converges very well with the SDGs. He added that the KP has been a driving force for peace and prosperity, tying closely with the 2030 agenda.
The DG complimented the work done by the Ad-hoc Committee on Review and Reforms and said that members need to give strong support to the current chair Angola and Vice-Chair Canada, so that the reform process can reach its identified goals based on consensus. He said that significant progress in consolidating the core document can be expected during the intersessional meeting.
Observing that diamonds are synonymous with the universal emotion and value of trust, the DG said that key stakeholders involved do everything possible to create, maintain and sustain this trust factor. Participating countries have enshrined the KPCS into national legislation, and 99.8% of world’s diamonds come from conflict-free sources.
The DG recalled that in 2018, the KP Plenary adopted the decision on the use of unified diamond nomenclature and terminology. This would enable differentiation between diamonds and synthetics on the national level and help introduce separate HS codes for the two categories, said the DG. He said that there is a need to continue the good work and act on issues such as support, technical assistance, capacity building of artisanal mining countries, finalization of best practice document by WGS and coordination of joint work programme by WGM and WGAAP with respect to Central Africa. He also said that the KP has to evolve and become relevant by pursuing increasing transparency, coherence and cooperation.
In addition to the presentations by the Working Group Chairs and other presentations, KP Intersessional meet in Mumbai will have special forums on Diamond Terminology, Artisanal Mining and how to make collective programs work where Mumbai’s famous Dabbawallas will present the Chain of Custody and All India Angadiya’s Association will present indigenous solutions. Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry will present on pooling resources through Common Facility Centres (CFCs). And the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) will present sessions on Cluster Mapping, Parichay Card, Health Insurance schemes, etc.
President, World Diamond Council, Mr. Stephane Fischler spoke of the enormous economic and social opportunity presented by diamonds and highlighted the dramatic disparity between the development trajectory of countries which were able to exploit that potential and of those which suffered due to civil war and conflict. Noting that the KP’s mission is to inject hope and that it is primarily about people, he said that the Process is a one-time opportunity to make a difference in those countries where diamond industry has not yet met its potential. Noting that 82% by volume of diamonds and 95% by value are extracted by industrial means and the remaining by artisanal means, he said there is a need to ensure that all diamond workers get a fair deal. He called for an expansion in the definition of the goods which finance rebellion. Asking the delegates whether we are doing everything we can to prevent drivers of future rebellion and conflict, he exhorted representatives of member countries to have the courage to look into the eyes of their people and speak up in favour of requisite steps to stem the flow of conflict diamonds. He concluded by saying that “it is now in your hands”.
Coordinator, KP Civil Society Coalition, Mr. Shamiso Mtisi said that diamonds have the potential to be a positive driver of development, but that it can be achieved only under the right conditions. He called for an expanded scope of the KP. He said that innovative tools can be adopted by the KP to deal with situations of violence. He said that issues such as enhancement of peer review process and establishment of permanent secretariat require attention of member countries. Stating that where diamonds involve violence, it affects sustainability, he said that the KP is the last chance to set things on the right course.