WDC on strengthening KPCS
There is a tendency during Kimberley Process (KP) gatherings, like the Intersessional Meeting held last month in Mumbai, to get caught up in the minutiae of the proceedings, losing sight during the heat of the discussions of the larger picture, and what is riding on our success.
Our stated goal is to support and strengthen the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), and in so doing prevent the flow of conflict diamonds into the legitimate market. That is a noble objective in and of it, but it is the consequence of such actions that provides the KP with its real transformative potential. By helping neutralize the devastating effects of violence, we are enabling grass-roots development, allowing the diamond to meet its promise as a capacity builder, for all individuals and communities involved in its production.
But while the KP has the capability of helping restore peace to regions beset by war and violence, the challenges faced by artisanal and small-scale miners are still considerable, even after calm has been restored. To be able to access the rough diamond markets, they themselves need to obtain KP certification, and that is not a simple task when operating in an informal environment, with only limited resources and often scant information about the real value of the goods being mined.
It is against such backdrops that certain WDC members are making their presence felt. For them, industry activism extends beyond the meeting halls of KP Intersessionals and Plenary Meetings, without underestimating for one moment the importance of such gatherings. These members also venture out into the field, helping create bridges from the diamond fields to the marketplace. By doing so they are transforming the lives of ASM miners and their dependents, and revitalizing the economic viability and social infrastructure of entire regions.
Elsewhere as well, and sometimes closer to home, WDC members are reinvesting in the communities in which they operate and upon which they depend. This is not simply philanthropy. A business that aims to remain sustainable over the long-term relies on sustainability being maintained throughout the chain of distribution.
Early this month, the produced the first ever-edition of the WDC News Update, a digital newsletter that will be distributed on a roughly two-month basis. In it, we featured one such WDC-member initiated grass-roots project, GemFair, which is currently a pilot program being operated by De Beers to assist artisanal miners in Sierra Leone. In coming issues, we will feature other projects, initiated by WDC members in mining regions and other areas where our industry operates.
The impact of each of these projects on those directly served by them is profound, but limited because our industry is spread over all five continents and provides a livelihood for many millions of individuals, and an even larger number of family members and dependents. However, collectively, a multitude of grass-roots programs – some independent and some working in tandem with organizations like the Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) and it Maendeleo Standards – can transform entire economies.
This is the larger perspective of the World Diamond Council.