37th World Diamond Congress opens as WFDB and IDMA hold meetings

The themes of the Congress are transparency, responsibility and sustainability.
37th World Diamond Congress opens as WFDB and IDMA hold meetings

The 37th World Diamond Congress (WDC), the biennial meeting of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA), kickstarted in Dubai today, with internal meetings of the two organisations.

Around 200 delegates and key players from across the diamond pipeline, including producers, officials of diamond-mining countries and a range of service organisations, such as banks and labs, will take part in wide-ranging debates on the state of the diamond industry as well as how to create sustainable, long-term growth in the diamond supply pipeline. The themes of the Congress are transparency, responsibility and sustainability.

Among the issues to be discussed are transparent and viable financing, support for a generic marketing campaign for diamonds as proposed by the World Diamond Mark Foundation, defending and supporting the diamond industry’s reputational profile, the challenge of undisclosed synthetic diamonds to the industry and consumers, challenges in diamond grading and the need to maintain competitive levels of research and development, and the industry’s ongoing support for the Kimberley Process via the World Diamond Council.

The Congress has introduced panel debates for the first time which are intended to elicit comments and participation from the audience, not just speakers and panelists.

The opening session of the Congress will take place on 17th May 2016, with speeches from WFDB President Ernie Blom, IDMA President Maxim Shkadov, Dubai Diamond Exchange Chairman Peter Meeus, and Executive Chairman of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre and Chair of the Kimberley Process, Ahmed Bin Sulayem.

Guest speakers include Diamond Producers Association CEO Jean-Marc Lieberherr and World Diamond Mark Foundation Chairman Alex Popov. There will also be a UAE Banking Seminar hosted by Peter Meeus with the participation of Dubai-based bankers.

On 18th May 2016, there will be a session on financing for the global diamond and jewellery industry as well as the need for financial transparency. Speeches will be followed by a panel session including Howard Davies and Feriel Zerouki of De Beers, David Bouffard from Signet Jewelers Ltd, and Mahesh Khemlani, President of the Panama Diamond Exchange.

The final day of the Congress will feature a panel session entitled 'Transparency, Responsibility, Sustainability in Producing Countries' featuring several guest panelists.

"We are approaching this Congress with a renewed sense of vigour," said WFDB President Ernie Blom. "Rough diamond sales have been robust since the start of this year and there is significant restocking taking place. We will be aiming to debate a wide range of issues and looking for solutions for our members," Blom added.

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