Global meet on illegally mined diamonds

Friday, 31 October 2008, 04:01 Hrs
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New Delhi: Representatives of 74 countries will brainstorm over four days from Nov 3 on issues related to trade in "conflict diamonds" that are mined and used by rebel groups to finance wars.

India's Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath will inaugurate the meet on what is called the Kimberley Process, which will conclude Nov 6, a ministry spokesperson said here Thursday.

"The meeting will discuss, among other things, the implementation of regulations to deal with trade in rough diamonds," an official spokesperson said, referring to the scheme to certify conflict-free diamonds.

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) is an international certification scheme that regulates trade in rough diamonds by preventing the flow of conflict diamonds.

Some of the key member-nations likely to participate in the global meet are Australia, the US, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Canada, Congo, Israel, Liberia, Namibia, South Africa, Russia, China, Britain, Romania, Brazil and Tanzania.

The KPCS currently has 48 delegates representing 74 countries. India, the chair of the scheme till December 2008, is one of the founding members of the KPCS.

The KPCS chair oversees the implementation of the scheme, operations of the working groups and committees.

In June, India had held the inter-sessional meeting of the KPCS, where New Delhi had raised the issue of fake certificates, frustrating the process to eliminate conflict diamonds.

Under a UN initiative, the KPCS seeks to ensure that only those diamonds that are sold by legitimate entities - as opposed to rebel groups - enter the global market.

Fact sheet on KPCS

What: The Kimberley Process is an initiative of governments, industry and civil society to stem the flow of conflict diamonds.

Why: Trade in these illicit precious stones has fuelled decades of devastating conflicts in countries such as Angola, Cote d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone.

When: The genesis of the process is in a meeting in May 2000 among South African diamond producing nations in Kimberley, South Africa. The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in December that year to free the world of conflict diamonds, and following that, the process came into force in 2003.

Process: The KPCS imposes extensive requirements on its members to enable them to certify shipments of rough diamonds as "conflict-free". Procuring diamonds from bona fide sources ensures this, accompanied by a certificate.

Success: Diamond experts estimate that conflict diamonds now represent only a fraction of one percent of the international trade in diamonds, compared to estimates of up to 15 percent in the 1990s.

Indian diamond industry: Nine out of every 10 rough diamonds in the world are cut and polished in India, employing one million people directly. The country exported cut and polished diamonds worth $13.36 billion in 2007-08, registering a 36.8 percent growth over the previous year.
Source: IANS
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