Kimberley Process Intersessional Meeting 2019 in Mumbai

The Intersessional meeting of Kimberley Process (KP) is being hosted by India from 17th to 21st June, 2019 in Mumbai. Besides meetings of different Working Groups and Committees of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), two special forums regarding Diamond Terminology and Artisanal Mining – Small Steps to Larger Outcomes, will be held during the Intersessional. Around 300 delegates from the Government of India and other participating countries, industry and civil society will be attending the five-day Meeting.

India and the KPCS

India is one of the founder members of Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and is the Chair of Kimberley Process for the year 2019 with Russian Federation as Vice Chair. India had earlier chaired KPCS in the year 2008. Alok Vardhan Chaturvedi, Director General, Directorate General of Foreign Trade, has been designated as KP Chair 2019 and Rupa Dutta, Economic Adviser, Department of Commerce, is India’s KP Focal Point.

At present, KPCS has 55 members representing 82 countries including EU with 28 members. The Kimberley Process is chaired, on a rotating basis, by participating countries. KP Vice-Chair is generally elected by KP Plenary each year, who becomes the Chair in the next year.

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.

The Kimberley Process is a joint initiative involving Government, international diamond industry and civil society to stem the flow of Conflict Diamonds. Conflict Diamonds means rough diamonds used by rebel movements or their allies to finance conflict aimed at undermining legitimate governments.  It is also described in United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions.

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.

Functioning of KPCS

In accordance with the KP core document, the work of the Kimberley Process is carried out through the following six Working Groups and Committees:-

  • Working Group on Monitoring (WGM) – Assigned the task of carrying out a review of the working of the scheme in each participant country through review visit/review missions and gives its recommendations.
  • Working Group on Statistics (WGS) – Collects data in respect of export, import and production of rough diamonds in the participant countries.
  • Working Group on Diamond Experts (WGDE) – Solves technical problems in the implementation of the KPCS like proposing changes to the ‘Harmonised System Codes’ for rough diamonds to World Customs Organisation and harmonisation of valuation methodologies.
  • Working Group on Artisanal and Alluvial Production (WGAAP) – To promote more effective internal controls on the production and trade of alluvial diamonds.
  • Committee on Participation and Chairmanship (CPC) – Assists the Chair of the Kimberley Process in handling the admission of new participants and advises if a participant fail to comply with minimum requirements. It also reviews and assesses candidates for the position of Vice-Chair and presents its recommendation/findings at the plenary meeting.  The participant selected as Vice-Chair becomes Chair the following year.
  • Committee on Rules and Procedure (CRP) – KP rules and procedure are devised and modified by the Committee.

In addition, an Ad Hoc Committee on Review and Reform (AHCRR) was created in Brisbane, Australia, Plenary of KPCS in 2017, with India as its Chair, to review the KPCS core document and examine ways to enhance administrative and financial support to the Process, including consideration of a Secretariat and a voluntary multi-donor fund to support participation from Least Developed Countries, civil society and experts who implement the work. During the Belgium Plenary 2018, India relinquished chairmanship of AHCRR in view of taking responsibility of KP Chair 2019 and Angola was selected as Chair and Canada as Vice Chair of AHCRR.

The working groups and committees discuss issues on regular basis through teleconferences and exchange of mails, and meet twice in a year for in-person meeting at Intersessional and Plenary meetings organized by KP Chair. Further, based on requirement, other in-person meetings may also be organized by Working Group Chair. The KPCS works on principle of consensus and all the decisions are taken in Plenary session or through written procedure unanimously by all members.

Rough diamond trading under the KPCS

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.

The Plenary meeting of Kimberley Process is scheduled to be held from 11th to 15th November, 2019 in New Delhi.