GENERAL ASSEMBLY REAFFIRMS STRONG SUPPORT FOR GLOBAL CERTIFICATION SCHEME TO DISRUPT DIAMOND SMUGGLING

15 December 2004
GA/10319

GENERAL ASSEMBLY REAFFIRMS STRONG SUPPORT FOR GLOBAL CERTIFICATION SCHEME TO DISRUPT DIAMOND SMUGGLING

15/12/2004
Press ReleaseGA/10319

Fifty-ninth General Assembly

Plenary

72nd Meeting (PM)

General Assembly Reaffirms Strong Support for Global Certification Scheme

to Disrupt Diamond Smuggling

 

Other Resolutions Adopted Today Concern UN Humanitarian Aid,

Southern African Development Community, Promotion of Tolerance, Culture of Peace

Recognizing the devastating impact of conflicts fuelled by the illicit trade in rough diamonds on civilian populations and the systematic and gross violations of human rights that have been perpetuated in such conflicts, the United Nations General Assembly today reaffirmed its strong and continuing support for the international certification scheme set up to disrupt the smuggling of the precious gems, which have financed some of the world's bloodiest civil wars.

Unanimously adopting a new resolution, the Assembly welcomed the ongoing efforts of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme as a valuable and important contribution to the global fight against traffic in so-called “conflict diamonds”.  It urged all Member States to participate in the process and its undertakings.   The Scheme, which was finalized two years ago, is an internationally recognized certification system for rough diamonds and establishing national import/export standards.

By the resolution, the Assembly recognized that the trade in rough diamonds could be directly linked to the fuelling of armed conflict, the activities of rebel movements aimed at undermining or overthrowing legitimate governments and the illicit traffic in and proliferation of armaments, particularly small arms and light weapons.  The Assembly believed therefore that implementing the Kimberly Scheme should substantially reduce the opportunity for such diamonds to play a role in fuelling armed conflict and should help protect legitimate trade and ensure the effective implementation of other relevant resolutions on trade in conflict diamonds.

The Kimberley process had its origins in the decision of southern African countries to take action to stop the flow of “conflict diamonds” to the markets, while at the same time protecting the legitimate diamond industry.  Today, the representative of Canada, current Chair of the Kimberly Process, told the Assembly that the certification process was working; the overwhelming majority of rough diamonds produced and traded worldwide now complied with Kimberly Process requirements.  Broad participation in the process had made it difficult for anyone to trade diamonds outside of the scheme.

Introducing the resolution, he said the Kimberly Process had effectively responded to the mandate given it by the Assembly –- to combat the role of diamonds in fuelling armed conflict.  Most importantly, the process was having a major economic impact in countries affected by conflict diamonds such as Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Sierra Leone.  But the process also had a significance that transcended the problems connected with the sale of diamonds to fund armed conflict.  It demonstrated the power of a new approach in international diplomacy focused on human security.  As the overwhelming majority of today’s armed conflicts occurred within, rather than between, States, the promotion of human security constituted a response to new global realities.

In other business today, the Assembly, recognizing the importance of secure and predictable funding to the coordinated, appropriate and timely delivery of humanitarian assistance, decided to raise the maximum limit of an emergency cash grant to $100,000 per country in the case of any one disaster, within the existing resources available from the regular budget of the United Nations.

Under a new resolution on strengthening the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations, also adopted without a vote, the Assembly stressed the need to increase, in an incremental way, in the normal course of the budget process, the share of the budget of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and requested that the Secretary-General give full attention to the matter.

The text notes the Assembly’s grave concern that violence, including sexual abuse and other violence against women, girls and boys continues to be, in many emergency situations, deliberately directed against civilian populations.  It also expressed its grave concern about the lack of access by humanitarian personnel to victims of humanitarian emergencies, in particular armed conflict situations in many regions of the world.  It strongly encouraged the United Nations system to address more systematically the protection of civilians, as well as other humanitarian issues with regional organizations, in accordance with their mandates, through dialogue.

By another resolution adopted today on cooperation between the United Nations and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Assembly called upon the international community to support the SADC’s capacity-building efforts, as well as its efforts to address new challenges and opportunities and consequences presented in the economies of the region arising form the processes of globalization and liberalization.

The text noted the Assembly’s concern that the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which has reached crisis proportions in the region, and the high prevalence of communicable diseases, such as malaria and tuberculosis, which are having far-reaching social and economic consequences, and called on the international community to strengthen support for the measures taken by the SADC in addressing HIV/AIDS.

Alarmed that serious instances of intolerance and discrimination on the grounds of religious belief, including acts of violence, intimidation and coercion are on the increase in many parts of the world, and emphasizing that combating hatred and prejudice represents a significant global challenge that requires further action, the Assembly adopted another text underlining the importance of promoting understanding and tolerance among all human beings in all their cultural and religious diversity.

The resolution recalled that the inter-religious dialogue is an integral part of the efforts to translate shared values, as reflected in the Millennium Declaration, into actions, in particular the efforts to promote a culture of peace and dialogue among civilizations.  It encouraged governments to promote, including through education, understanding, tolerance and friendship among all human beings in their diversity, and calls upon States to exert their utmost effort to ensure that religious and cultural sites are fully respected and protected in compliance with their international obligations.

Finally, today, the Assembly adopted a resolution on the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for Children of the World (2001-2010), and invited Member States to continue to place greater emphasis on their activities promoting a culture of peace and non-violence, particularly during the Decade, at the national, regional and international levels and to ensure that peace and non-violence are fostered at all levels.

Member States were further invited to observe 21 September each year as the International Day of Peace, as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence.  The Assembly would also encourage the appropriate authorities to provide education, as well as development of progressive curricula and textbooks, in children’s schools, that includes lessons in mutual understanding, tolerance, active citizenship human rights and the promotion of a culture of peace.

Speaking today were the representatives of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Cuba, Switzerland, the United States, and the Russian Federation.

Also, the Observer of the European Commission spoke on behalf of the European Union.

Introducing drafts before the Assembly today were the representatives of Canada, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Mauritius and Sweden.

The Assembly will reconvene at 3 p.m. on Monday, 20 December to take action on the reports of the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian, Cultural).

Background

The General Assembly met this afternoon to discuss the role of diamonds in fuelling conflict and progress towards implementation of the Kimberly Process.  It was also expected to take action on a number of draft resolutions, respectively on disrupting the trade of rough diamonds in conflict areas, United Nations cooperation with regional organizations, a culture of peace, and strengthening the coordination of the Organization’s emergency humanitarian assistance.

Report

The guiding document before the Assembly is the annual report of the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), contained in a letter from the Permanent Representative of Canada addressed to the Assembly’s President (document A/59/590).  It covers the developments during the past year, and focuses on breaking the link between the illicit transaction of rough diamonds and armed conflict as a contribution to the prevention and settlement of conflicts.

In May 2000, Southern African diamond producing States met in Kimberley, South Africa, to come up with a way to stop the trade in conflict diamonds and to ensure consumers that the diamonds that they purchase have not contributed to violent conflict and human rights abuses in their countries of origin.  In December 2000, the Assembly adopted a resolution supporting the creation of a global certification scheme for rough diamonds.  In November 2002, after nearly two years of negotiation, the efforts of governments, the international diamond industry and non-governmental organizations culminated in the creation of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).

The KPCS outlines the provisions by which the trade in rough diamonds is to be regulated by countries, regional economic integration organisations and rough diamond-trading entities.  The trade in these illicit stones has contributed to devastating conflicts in countries such as Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone.  The KPCS is an innovative, voluntary system that imposes extensive requirements on participants to certify that shipments of rough diamonds are free from conflict diamonds.  The Process is composed of 43 participants, involved in the production, export and import of rough diamonds and accounts for approximately 98 per cent of the world trade in rough diamonds.

The current report, compiled by Canada’s representative as Chair of the Process, States that consultation had been completed with the Republic of the Congo on the process by which it might return to the list of participants.  That country was removed from the list in July following confirmation of its non-compliance with the KPCS.  The Republic of the Congo has committed to meet the criteria to rejoin and has indicated it plans to submit evidence that the criteria have been met as soon as possible.  The Participation Committee also addressed issues related to Lebanon, Liberia, and Cote d’Ivoire.

Owing to the turmoil in Cote d’Ivoire, its statistical and annual reports were both long overdue.  But recent communications from the Minister of Mines and Energy, however, confirmed that the ministerial order prohibiting the export of diamonds remains in effect and that no Certificates have been issued.  The report states that Liberia is still under a Security Council ban on trade in rough diamonds.  The Chair has undertaken consultations in order to ensure coordination between the United Nations and the Kimberly Process.  Given the role that the former Liberian Government played in the civil wars across the West African region in the 1990s, the Process must manage Liberia’s potential entry into the scheme with care.

The report also notes that events during the past year have demonstrated the need for a subsidiary body within the Process that has a mandate to provide guidance to the Chair on how to manage confirmed instances where participants are not meeting the minimum requirements of the KPCS.  The Participation Committee was created to ensure all applicants met those requirements, but that body’s terms of reference were limited to assessing applicants.  The revised terms of reference now enable the Committee to advise on matters of non-compliance.

Although the Certification Scheme is still in the early stages of implementation, it is already having a concrete and positive impact on the international trade in rough diamonds and on the fortunes of countries affected by conflict diamonds.  According to the report, the Process is rapidly changing the landscape of the global rough diamond trade, with the participation of virtually all diamond-producing and trading countries.  It now covers more than $8.5 billion in annual production and more than $20 billion in annual trade.  Indeed, the breadth of participation in the scheme makes it difficult for anyone to operate outside the KPCS.

The report states that in the context of peace agreements signed in the countries most affected –- Sierra Leone, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Liberia -- some have suggested that the need for the Process is waning and that perhaps the Scheme can be wound down in the coming year.  But, while there can be no doubt that the peace agreements in those countries have substantially reduced the risks of conflict diamonds entering the legitimate trade, those accords remain fragile and require active international support.  The risk remains that the trade in illicit resources, including diamonds, could once again fuel further fighting.  The Scheme remained an essential conflict prevention tool and consideration of the KPCS’s role in that regard should be the central focus of the planned three-year review of implementation, set for 2006.

Draft Resolutions

Among the drafts before the Assembly is a text on breaking the link between the illicit transaction of rough diamonds and armed conflict (document A/59/L.46), which would have it recognize the devastating impact of conflicts fuelled by the trade in conflict diamonds on the peace, safety and security of people in affected countries, and stress that the widest participation in the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme is essential and should be encouraged.  The Assembly would also urge all Member States to participate actively in the Scheme by complying with its undertakings.

The draft would also have the Assembly recognize that the trade in rough diamonds is a matter of serious international concern, which can be directly linked to the fuelling of armed conflict, the activities of rebel movements aimed at undermining or overthrowing legitimate governments, and the illicit traffic in and proliferation of armaments, particularly small arms and light weapons.  It would, therefore, recognize that continued action to curb the trade in conflict diamonds is imperative, and would welcome the important contribution of the Kimberly Process, which was initiated by African diamond-producing countries.

The Assembly would also express its belief that implementing the KPCS should substantially reduce the opportunity for conflict diamonds to play a role in fuelling armed conflict and should help protect legitimate trade and ensure the effective implementation of other relevant resolutions on the trade in conflict diamonds.

Another draft resolution before the Assembly, on cooperation between the United Nations and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) (document A/59/L.42*), would have the Assembly call upon the international community to support the SADC’s capacity-building efforts, as well as its efforts to address new challenges and opportunities presented in the economies of the region arising from the processes of globalization and liberalization.

The text notes the Assembly’s concern that the HIV/AIDS epidemic has reached crisis proportions in the region and the high prevalence of communicable diseases, such as malaria and tuberculosis, are having far-reaching social and economic consequences.  It would have the Assembly call on the international community to strengthen support for the measures taken by the SADC in addressing HIV/AIDS.

The Assembly would also appeal to the international community and the relevant organs of the United Nations to continue providing financial, technical and material assistance to the Community to support its efforts to fully implement the regional strategic development plan and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), as well as towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

Also before the Assembly is a draft on promotion of cultural and religious harmony (document A/59/L.17), which underlines the importance of promoting understanding and tolerance among all human beings in all their cultural and religious diversity, and would have the Assembly recall that the inter-religious dialogue is an integral part of the efforts to translate shared values, as reflected in the Millennium Declaration, into actions, in particular the efforts to promote a culture of peace and dialogue among civilizations.

The text would have the Assembly express its alarm that serious instances of intolerance and discrimination on the grounds of religious belief, including acts of violence, intimidation and coercion, are on the increase in many parts of the world, and emphasize that combating hatred and prejudice represents a significant global challenge that requires further action.

The text would have the Assembly, therefore, encourage governments to promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all human beings in their diversity, and call upon States to exert their utmost effort to ensure that religious and cultural sites are fully respected and protected in compliance with their international obligations.

It also urges States to take effective measures to prevent and eliminate discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief, and to ensure, that in the course of their official duties, members of law enforcement bodies and the military, civil servants, educations and other public officials respect different religions and beliefs and do not discriminate against persons professing other religions of beliefs.

A draft on the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for Children of the World (2001-2010) (document A/59/L.21), would have the Assembly invite Member States to continue to place greater emphasis on their activities for promoting a culture of peace and non-violence, particularly during the Decade, at the national, regional and international levels and to ensure that peace and non-violence are fostered at all levels.  Further by the text, the Assembly would invite all Member States to observe 21 September each year as the International Day of Peace, as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence.  The Assembly would also encourage the appropriate authorities to provide education, in children’s schools, that includes lessons in mutual understanding, tolerance, active citizenship, human rights and the promotion of a culture of peace.

The final resolution, on strengthening the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations (document A/59/L.49), would have the Assembly recognize the importance of secure and predictable funding to the coordinated, appropriate and timely delivery of humanitarian assistance, and stress the need to increase, in an incremental way, in the normal course of the budget process, the share of the budget of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and request that the Secretary-General give full attention to the matter.

The text notes the Assembly’s grave concern that violence, including sexual abuse and other violence against women, girls and boys continues to be, in many emergency situations, deliberately directed against civilian populations.  The Assembly would also express its grave concern about the lack of access by humanitarian personnel to victims of humanitarian emergencies, in particular armed conflict situations in many regions of the world.  It would strongly encourage the United Nations system to address more systematically protection of civilians and other humanitarian issues with regional organizations, in accordance with their mandates, through dialogue.

The text would have the Assembly decide to raise the maximum limit of an emergency cash grant to $100,000 per country in the case of any one disaster, within the existing resources available from the regular budget of the United Nations.

Introduction and Action on Draft Resolutions

JAGDISH KOONJUL (Mauritius), speaking on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), introduced the draft resolution on cooperation between the Community and the United Nations (document A/59/L.42), noting that the text reaffirmed the commitment to enhanced cooperation with the Organization and development partners.  Among recent initiatives, the SADC had adopted the Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections at the 2004 Mauritius Summit, and had launched the Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ on Politics Defence and Security (SIPO), to complement the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP).  The present draft appealed for continued and enhanced support from the United Nations and the international community for effective realization of the goals and achievements set out in the RISDP and SIPO.

Among other provisions, the text also noted the particularly grave regional situation with relation to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, he added, as well as efforts to make Southern Africa a landmine-free zone.  Continued and stronger support was needed from the United Nations and the international community for those initiatives.

The draft was then adopted without a vote.

Following that, MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan) introduced the draft resolution on the promotion of religious and cultural understanding, harmony and cooperation (document A/59/L.17/Rev.1), saying that all religions and cultures shared a common set of universal values.  Religion, therefore, must not become a source of division.  All people must cherish the unity and indivisibility of the human race no matter what religion or particular culture anyone belonged to.  Recently, however, the gulf between communities, religions and civilizations had been widened by a resurgence of religious and cultural intolerance.  In his address to the Assembly this year Pakistan’s President had urged the international community to bridge the gulf of misunderstanding between Islam and the West.  He had highlighted the promotion of religious and cultural understanding, harmony and cooperation.

It was against that backdrop that Pakistan had tabled the draft before the Assembly today.  He expressed confidence that the text would be endorsed unanimously, and in that way would be an affirmation by the members of the international community of shared commitment to advance the goals of universal understanding, harmony and peace, as well as security and prosperity among all nations and peoples of all faiths and cultures.  Reading out a correction to operative paragraph 9 of the text, he said that the phrase “as well as development of progressive curricula and text books” should be inserted.

ANDERS LIDEN (Sweden), introducing the text on strengthening coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance (document A/59/L.49), said the draft reaffirmed the principles of neutrality, humanity and impartiality in humanitarian work, while recognizing that independence too remained an important guiding principle.  It voiced a strong condemnation of all acts of violence against civilians in emergency situations, and reiterated that such acts could constitute grave breaches of human rights and -- in certain circumstances -– could constitute crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The text expressed grave concern about the lack of access to victims in many conflicts and called upon governments and other parties to cooperate with the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies, he added.  It also encouraged Member States to work to provide more predictable response to the needs of internally displaced persons, and to mobilize adequate support -– including financial resources –- for emergency humanitarian assistance at all levels.  The OCHA should benefit from adequate and more predictable funding.  The final paragraph requested Secretary-General to report on progress made in strengthening this cooperation at the next session of the General Assembly.

The draft was then adopted without a vote.

Speaking in explanation of position after the adoption, the representative of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic said he supported the international community’s efforts to address humanitarian emergencies across the globe.  However, humanitarian emergencies must be addressed in a uniform manner, without favouritism or double standards.  The principles of neutrality and non-interference must be respected.  Thus, recalling that the Non-Aligned Movement had rejected the so-called right of humanitarian intervention as having no basis in the Charter or international law, his country wished to dissociate itself from the consensus on paragraph 15.

The representative of Cuba said he too wished to dissociate himself from the consensus on paragraph 15.  Concepts such as the culture of protection were being used to contravene international law, and the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter.  Cuba maintained that the first means of providing assistance in cases of humanitarian emergency remained strict respect for international law, and international humanitarian law in particular.

IFTEKHAR AHMED CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) introduced the draft resolution on the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence of the Children of the World (2001-2010) (document A/59/L.21), saying the past century had perhaps been the most violent in human history.  But it had also been the century, which had witnessed, in many parts of the world, the triumph of non-violence, the end of colonial rule and the efflorescence of civil society.

The text before the Assembly designated United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to be the Decade’s lead agency, coordinating all relevant activities.  The text also welcomed the relevant role of civil society and would encourage vibrant civic organizations to continue to assist and coordinate such activities with the agencies and funds of the United Nations system.  The draft also stipulated that at the Decade’s midpoint, the Assembly would hold a day-long plenary meeting to assessed progress towards implementation.

The Assembly then adopted without a vote, the text on religious harmony and tolerance, as orally revised.

The resolution on the International Decade was also adopted without vote.

ALLAN ROCK (Canada), introducing the draft on conflict diamonds, said the Kimberly Process had effectively responded to the mandate given it by the General Assembly –- to combat the role of diamonds in fuelling armed conflict.  The Kimberly Process Certification Scheme was working as the overwhelming majority of rough diamonds produced and traded worldwide now complied with Kimberly Process requirements.  Broad participation in the process had made it difficult for anyone to trade diamonds outside of the scheme.  Moreover, since the launch of the Kimberly scheme in January 2003, authorities had seized dozens of diamond shipments in violation of the Process; charges had been made and perpetrators prosecuted.  It had also had a large economic impact in countries affected by conflict diamonds -- with the help of the certification scheme, a growing volume of rough diamonds was being exported through official channels.

The Kimberly Process, he added, had a significance that transcended the problems connected with the sale of diamonds to fund armed conflict.  It also demonstrated the power of a new approach in international diplomacy focused on human security.  As the overwhelming majority of today’s armed conflicts occurred within, rather than between States, the promotion of human security constituted a response to new global realities.  The Process also set an important precedent for addressing the role of natural resources in armed conflict.  The Kimberly Process constituted a major success story for the international community; it was a living testimony to the substantial progress that could be made through partnership for a common end.

Statements

ANDREAS BAUM (Switzerland) said that in its short history, the Kimberly Process had proved an invaluable instrument in tackling the challenge posed by the relatively new type of war economy -- the illicit trade in rough diamonds.  The scheme was a perfect example of the type innovative response required to effectively address contemporary threats and challenges.  It also highlighted the increased need to implicate non-State actors, particularly the private sector, in effective conflict prevention and management policies.  And while the primary responsibility for peace and security rested with States, ensuring a bona fide culture of prevention must include all concerned actors.

He said that the process had never been regarded as an end in itself.  Switzerland felt it important to explore the possibility of developing similar processes for other raw materials, which were at the root of armed conflicts or contributed to prolonging them.  Above and beyond the certification of raw materials in war-affected countries as one way to reduce the trade that contributed to sustaining conflict, the moment had also come to identify minimal norms and standards for the exploitation of natural resources in conflict zones, he added.

In addition, he said that recent experience had shown that the international community lacked clear criteria for unequivocally distinguishing between legal and illicit economic activities in conflict situations.  The existence of that grey area hampered not only conflict prevention efforts but also any sanctions that might be imposed by the Security Council.  With that in mind, Switzerland would be very interested in a process aimed at establishing a set of clear regulations for economic actors in conflict zones.

STUART HOLLIDAY (United States) said his country and Government had been pursuing a solution to the problem of conflict diamonds since the horrific, destructive effects of the illicit trade in those gems had become known in the late 1990s.  The American Government had worked hard with other governments, the diamond industry and human rights groups to create a controlled labelling system for rough diamonds, seeking to halt the flow of conflict diamonds while avoiding harm to the legitimate diamond industry.

He said that the progress made by the participants in the Kimberly Process had been remarkable, adding that a comprehensive statistical database had been developed, and the Working Group on Statistics was actively seeking to improve data quality.  While the United States was proud of its leadership role –- a role that Congress had repeatedly supported –- the Kimberly certification scheme would never have come into being without the leadership of a number of key participants, including African producer States.  He added that the process would never have come this far without the active support of and participation of the diamond industry and civil society actors.

NIKOLAY V. CHULKOV (Russian Federation) said his country fully shared the goals of the Kimberly Process, in keeping with its role as one of the world’s leaders in diamond production.  In accordance with relevant General Assembly and Security Council resolutions on conflict diamonds, the Russian Federation had done its utmost to ensure the normal functioning and development of the world’s diamond industry.  Therefore, while decisions taken within the Kimberly Process –- including the Certification Scheme –- were not binding upon participants, the Process’ members had recognized their growing responsibility and had assumed serious commitments and taken steps, including to change their national legislation and business practices.

Many countries, particularly on the African continent, he noted, had increased their legal diamond exports dramatically since the Process’ inception.  Tax bases had expanded, and national budgets had received additional funds.  Some countries had also begun searching to establish or improve control over prospectors and businessmen not yet subjected to relevant control, but who worked in the diamond industry.  That constituted grounds for hope that the goals formulated by the United Nations would be attained and that the link between diamonds and local conflicts would be broken.

As the next Chair of the Kimberly Process, the Russian Federation would seek thorough and full compliance with the Kimberly scheme by all participants, he said.  It would also seek to intensify interactions with representatives of the diamond industry, and seek the process’ adoption by all stakeholders in the world diamond industry.  The Russian Federation also intended to fine-tune the work of the working groups and committees of the Kimberly process, as well as that of its monitoring and review mechanisms and analytical and information mechanisms.

JOHN B. RICHARDSON, Observer for the European Commission, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the annual debate on the role of diamonds in fuelling conflict provided the opportunity to take stock of the toll wrought by recent conflicts, including the threatening of an entire industry.  This year, however, it also offered the opportunity to applaud one of the most remarkable conflict prevention initiatives yet seen.  There could no longer be any doubt as to the success of the Process; the Certification Scheme had transformed the diamond trade globally, giving legitimate governments an unprecedented degree of control over their diamond resources.  Smuggling had been clamped down upon, and countries had been prompted to introduce effective internal controls over diamond production and trade.

Much of the credit for the Process’ achievements over the past year, he stressed, must be given to the outgoing Chair, Canada.  The Kimberly Process had emerged strengthened from the challenges it had faced, and was now a robust and effective instrument.  Important challenges remained, including resistance towards complacency.  Many diamond-producing countries and regions remained vulnerable to renewed conflict, and the Kimberly certification scheme remained absolutely essential to consolidation of peace in those regions.  During the forthcoming review of the Certification scheme, the Union believed that the continued need for it to function as a conflict prevention instrument must be of foremost consideration.

The draft on conflict diamonds was then unanimously adopted.

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For information media. Not an official record.