By Ashley Bailey
, Thursday, December 21, 2006
On January 1, 2007 the European Union will assume chairmanship of the Kimberley Process. The body has vowed to strengthen the process and deal actively with any crisis which could compromise its effectiveness. Participating KPCS governments now monitor and certify all rough diamonds in their territory before export and forbid any rough diamonds from entering their territory without an approved KPCS certificate.
The Kimberley Process has dramatically reduced the scope of conflict diamond trade. Some estimates put rough associated with conflict at less than 1% of the global market today. Nevertheless, the trade is vast and the system is not perfect: Kimberly Process fraud was uncovered in Brazil and Guyana this year. In early November NGOs were calling for expulsion of Venezuela.
The European Union vows to tighten controls. Measures will include consolidating peer review visits, publication of statistics and effectiveness of internal controls. One of the EU’s first priorities is to ensure that conflict diamonds from Cote d’Ivoire cannot be laundered through Guyana or Mali. Also of note is the UN Security Council’s decision to maintain its ban on diamond exports from Liberia until the country can adequately track diamond mining on its territory.
The European Commission was unanimously elected to hold the annual chairmanship of the KP in 2007, succeeding Botswana, Russia, Canada, and South Africa.
KP Participants asof December 15, 2006:
There are 47 Participants representing 71 countries (EC represents 25 Member States.) This will change to 45 Participants as Romania and Bulgaria will become part of the European Community.
Central African Republic
China, People's Republic of
Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Cote d'Ivoire (embargo)
Korea, Republic of
Lao, Democratic Republic of
United Arab Emirates
United States of America