Despite calls for change, the Kimberley Process' (KP) definition of conflict diamonds remains the same, and some believe that is limiting the initiative's ability to address modern challenges.
What is the Kimberley Process?
The KP is a tripartite initiative composed of governments, diamond industry players and civil society organizations (CSOs). It was created to both protect the image of diamonds by keeping them free of association with violent conflict and to prevent rebel movements from obtaining and using diamond revenues to fund insurgencies and undermine governments.
To achieve these objectives, the KP oversees a certification scheme for rough diamonds. Members must adhere to minimum requirements that regulate various aspects of the trade, such as production, trading partners and import and export procedures.
However, the KP, which is approaching its 10th anniversary, has been accused of dropping the ball on numerous occasions, such as with issues involving the Ivory Coast, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. And its critics argue that the KP has grown increasingly out of touch, irrelevant and ineffective.
Global Witness quits the Kimberley Process
Global Witness (GW), which played a key role in establishing the KP, quit its role in the initiative last year. GW said the KP's refusal to evolve and address clear links between diamonds, violence and tyranny has rendered the KP increasingly outdated.
“Nearly nine years after the Kimberley Process was launched, the sad truth is that most consumers still cannot be sure where their diamonds come from, nor whether they are financing armed violence or abusive regimes,”
Charmian Gooch, a founding director of GW, in a press release. GW even went so far as to call the KP “an accomplice to diamond laundering — whereby dirty diamonds are mixed in with clean gems.”
Reforming the Kimberley Process
Even within the KP, the need for reform is widely recognized and the KP is supposed to be undergoing a self review.