25th Jun, 2019
India has committed to play an active role to curb the circulation of conflict diamonds in the international market.
What is Kimberley Process and how does it work?
- It is an international certification scheme that regulates trade in rough diamonds.
- It aims to prevent the flow of conflict diamonds, while helping to protect legitimate trade in rough diamonds.
- The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) outlines the rules that govern the trade in rough diamonds.
- The KPCS has developed a set of minimum requirements that each participant must meet.
- The KP is not, strictly speaking, an international organisation: it has no permanent offices or permanent staff.
- It relies on the contributions – under the principle of ‘burden-sharing' – of participants, supported by industry and civil society observers. Neither can the KP be considered as an international agreement from a legal perspective, as it is implemented through the national legislations of its participants.
- Its members are responsible for stemming 99.8 per cent of the global production of conflict diamonds.
- At present, KPCS has 55 members representing 82 countries including EU with 28 members.
- In 1998, certain rebel movements in Africa (Sierra Leone, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia) were selling, among other things, illegally obtained diamonds – known as Conflict Diamonds – to fund their wars against legitimate governments.
- With a view to find ways to stop trade in Conflict Diamonds, world’s diamond industry, United Nations, Governments and leading NGOs came together and in November 2002 at Interlaken, Switzerland, where the final draft of the Kimberley Process measures was ratified by more than fifty countries.
- The KPCS came into effect from 1st January, 2003 and evolved into an effective mechanism for stopping the trade in Conflict Diamonds.
What is a Conflict Diamond?
- Conflict diamonds, also known as ‘blood' diamonds, are rough diamonds used by rebel movements or their allies to finance armed conflicts aimed at undermining legitimate governments.
- Currently, the conflict diamonds trade constitute 2% of the total Global Diamond Trade.
How are Conflict Diamonds identified from Normal Diamonds?
- A number of researchers are working on different analytical techniques that could enable them to determine where an individual stone comes from.
- However, to date, there is no scientific consensus on the best methods.
- The Kimberley Process relies on administrative controls to track stones from mine to export, and subsequent trading.
- The Kimberley Process (KP) is investigating the possibility of detecting anomalies both from ‘footprinting' (study of the overall characteristics of production/exports) and ‘fingerprinting' (identification of individual stones) and how these methods might strengthen KP implementation.
Kimberley Process and India
- India is one of the founder members of Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and is the Chair of Kimberley Process for 2019 with the Russian Federation as Vice Chair.
- Since 2003, India has been actively participating in the KPCS process and is a member of all Working Groups of KP (except for Working Group on Artisanal and Alluvial Production, WGAAP).
- Department of Commerce is the nodal Department and Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) is designated as the KPCS Importing and Exporting Authority in India.
- GJEPC is responsible for issuing KP Certificates and is also the custodian of KP Certificates received in the country.
- As per the Scheme, each shipment of rough diamonds being exported and imported by crossing an international border be transported in a tamper proof container and accompanied by a validated Kimberley Process Certificate. The shipment can only be exported to a co-participant country in the KPCS. No uncertified shipments of rough diamonds are permitted to enter a participant country.