Today, to keep pace with a
changing world, the KP's 77 participant countries, observers from
industry, and civil society must ensure the KP evolves with the
The KP's founders agreed unanimously that diamonds must stop
funding rebel movements' violence. Recognizing that millions of
people depend on diamonds for their livelihood, they also sought to
keep demand for legitimate diamonds strong by preserving the gems'
The KP set a benchmark - and a level playing field-- for the
diamond trade worldwide. No matter where rough diamonds are
produced or traded, the KP certificate assures consumers they have
not funded rebel groups' abuses.
Though the KP has much to be proud of, a critical touchstone, its
definition of a "conflict diamond", no longer meets today's
challenges. It does not adequately address rough diamonds linked
to other types of conflicts.
Diamonds' attractiveness depends on their association with purity.
Other industries have suffered due to the loss of consumer
confidence.There is concern that the association of some diamonds
with violence risks infecting the entire diamond market with a
negative image. Consumers want the assurance that their diamond is
untainted by any kind of violence.
Now is the time for action. Consensus on a KP definition that
addresses these concerns, preserves confidence, and forestalls the
erosion of sales is the ideal outcome for all from producers
through to consumers. Failing KP action, some countries or some
elements of the diamond industry may move to independently address
evolving consumer expectations.
Consultations with government, industry and civil society suggest
KP reform should focus on these key elements:
* KP certificates must continue to ensure freedom from
conflict; certification need not address human rights, financial
transparency and development, which are better advanced through the
exchange of best practices;
* KP certification should apply only to conflict/violence
that is demonstrably related to rough diamonds and independently
verified and not to isolated, individual incidents;
* KP safeguards should be implemented site-by-site,
consistent with systems for other conflict minerals such as the
International Conference of the Great Lakes Region certification
The governments of the Kimberley Process, encouraged and supported
by industry and civil society, have the capacity to manage these
risks and take the evolutionary steps required to ensure a solid
future for diamonds. They must now develop the will to reach
consensus on what defines a conflict diamond. Failure to do so is
a losing proposition as reform is an issue that will not go away.
The loss of consumer confidence in diamonds could severely impact
nations whose citizens are most dependent on the diamonds in their
soil or on the millions of jobs created by the diamond value chain.
In the long run, the true cost of failing to tackle this challenge
will be far greater than the effort required to forge a consensus
on an updated definition for the Kimberley Process conflict