The Kimberley Process
Reprinted from the World Diamond Council
Conflict diamonds came to the attention of the world media during the extremely brutal conflict in Sierra Leone in the 1990s. The UN, governments, the diamond industry and non-governmental organizations (such as Global Witness, Amnesty International and Partnership Africa Canada), recognized the need for a global system to prevent conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate diamond supply chain and thus helping to fund conflict. They developed an agreement called the Kimberley Process, which requires participating governments to ensure that each shipment of rough diamonds be exported/imported in a secure container, accompanied by a uniquely numbered, government-validated certificate stating that the diamonds are from sources free of conflict. View a sample of a Kimberley Process certificate.
Under the Kimberley Process, diamond shipments can only be exported and imported within co-participant countries in the Kimberley Process. No uncertified shipments of rough diamonds will be permitted to enter or leave a participant's country. This ring-fences conflict diamonds and as such ensures they are unable to enter the legitimate diamond supply chain and thus, cannot be used for illegitimate purposes.
In November 2002, 52 governments ratified and adopted the Kimberley Process Certification System, which was fully implemented in August of 2003.
Today, 69 governments, in partnership with the diamond industry and NGOs, are committed and legally bound to the UN-mandated process. Kimberley Process participants currently account for well over 99% of the global production of rough diamonds.
Kimberley Process participants undergo periodic reviews, along with peer monitoring to ensure compliance. Furthermore, all rough diamond sales are independently audited, and are also subject to separate governmental regulations. Any country that is found not to be in compliance can be sanctioned by the Kimberley Process. All countries that are participants of the Kimberley Process are closely monitored. A recent Kimberley Process Review Mission to Brazil noted anomalies and weaknesses within the country's procedures. The Brazilian Government took definitive action by suspending its official exports of rough diamonds and is in the process of working with the Kimberley Process to remedy the situation as soon as possible.
Kimberley Process Requirements
Each shipment of rough diamonds crossing an international border must be:
- Transported in a tamper-resistant container accompanied by a government-validated Kimberley Process Certificate
- Each certificate must be resistant to forgery, uniquely numbered and describe the shipment's contents
- The shipment can only be exported to another Kimberley Process participant country
- It is illegal for uncertified shipments of rough diamonds to either be imported or exported by a Kimberley Process member country
Failure to comply with these procedures can lead to confiscation or rejection of parcels and/or criminal sanctions If any concerns arise regarding a country's adherence to the Kimberley Process, they are investigated and dealt with quickly and thoroughly at an intergovernmental level.
Reprinted from the World Diamond Council
The Kimberley Process is constantly being reviewed for improvements. This review is currently being undertaken by the international governments who are members of the Process, with input from NGOs, diamond industry experts and other interested parties. Currently more than 60 recommendations for improving the process have been proposed and those agreed will be adopted at the plenary meeting to take place later in 2006 in Gaborone, Botswana and formally ratified by the United Nations General Assembly.
In addition to the Kimberley Process and System of Warranties, the diamond industry - along with governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) - is taking additional actions to eradicate conflict diamonds. For example, the Diamond Development Initiative is working to improve the security and working conditions of artisan mines, which can be vulnerable to seizure by rebel forces.
Generous Gems buys it's diamonds and diamond jewelry from reputable members of the industry that abide by the Kimberly Process.