However, Mr. Asscher questioned why the Kimberley Process remained unable to deliver progress on the most important issue, asking “But why do we persistently fail to make substantive progress on expanding the definition of conflict diamonds – a move that almost all of us understands is necessary?”
The WDC President reminded the audience of a prediction he made at the KP Intersessional meeting in June, about the risk of the emergence of a two-tier diamond industry. The upper, more established tier of companies, which are able to independently monitor their supply chains, is able to meet consumer expectations. But the lower, less established tier, will see its market share diminishing, often through no fault of its own, he said. The victims of such an outcome would include “the individuals, communities and entire economies that rely on revenues generated by diamonds for their livelihoods and future development,” Mr. Asscher stated.
Mr. Asscher noted the role that the WDC’s upgraded WDC System of Warranties, launched on September 21, could play in helping to address this risk. He stated that the new System “continues to support the trade in KPCS-compliant diamonds throughout the supply chain, and at the same time indicates that they comply with universal human rights and labor rights, and with essential principles of anti-corruption and anti-money laundering.”
Mr. Asscher also expressed the WDC’s dismay over the veto in the UN Security Council of the budget for the Panel of Experts in the Central African Republic (CAR), which he described as the ears and eyes of the UN on the ground, reporting objectively about problems in the country.
As far as the WDC is concerned, right now there is no justification to expand the green zones in CAR, the WDC President said, referring to monitored artisanal diamond mining areas from which KP-compliant exports are permitted. “Furthermore, if the conditions of the new Operational Framework are not met, we should return to the old framework. In other words, we should go back to carrying out inspections before a shipment is approved for export from CAR, rather than following up after the shipment already has taken place,” he said.