The 2019 Plenary Meeting of the Kimberley Process got underway today in New Delhi with an impressive inaugural ceremony that saw the participation of dignitaries from India and across the world.
Those present on the dais at the inaugural session included Mr. B.B Swain, KP Chair; Mr. Alexander Alexeevich Pshenichnikov, KP Vice-Chair; Dr Anup Wadhawan, Commerce Secretary, Government of India; Mr. Stephane Fischler, President, World Diamond Council and Mr. Shamiso Mtisi, Coordinator of Civil Society Coalition.
KP Chair B. B. Swain welcomed all the participants and observers stressing India’s commitment to facilitate deliberations on all issues. “India has always been at the forefront of identifying challenges faced by the industry and will continue to support KP’s efforts in terms of capacity building, providing technical assistance and education and in moving forward,” he said.
The KP Chair also emphasised that at the threshold of conclusion of the current review cycle India remains sensitive to all critical issues and challenges that confront KP including the discussions on expanding the scope, challenges faced by artisanal mining, as well as key decisions related to the Permanent Secretariat, the multi-donor fund, the peer review mechanism, etc.
The Plenary meeting was inaugurated by Commerce Secretary, Dr. Anup Wadhawan. Speaking on this occasion the Commerce Secretary said that India, as a founding member of KP, has been actively involved in the development of KP as an important protocol in trade of diamonds which has ensured that 99.8% of the diamonds in the world are conflict free. He further added that we need to keep KP efficient and effective as a process to maintain this conflict diamond free status. He informed the gathering that India is committed to make this process stronger in terms of further strengthened administration and implementation, efficient in terms of delivery of what it promises, more transparent and empathetic towards the living standards of people who are dependent on the production, trade and manufacture of diamonds.
In his address, The Commerce Secretary stated that India has given leadership to address the issue of differentiation between Natural Diamonds and Lab Grown Diamonds and will take further initiatives to have better differentiation and ensure responsible business on this front. He also said that India always advocates consensus-based decision making process, as it ensures that even the weakest voice is heard.
The Commerce Secretary informed that India is sensitive to the issues and challenges of artisanal and small scale mining and acknowledges the contribution made by the KP members, observers and agencies for their upliftment. We need to continue supporting artisanal and small scale mining countries with capacity building, technical assistance and education on valuation, differentiation between Natural and Lab Grown diamonds, importance of legal and formal mining practices, the Commerce Secretary said.
WDC President Stephane Fischler said, “After three years of countless meetings, we have arrived in New Delhi. I believe the future of KP will be decided by you KP members this week. Lives will be impacted by your decisions, especially in artisanal mining areas. Conflicts damage the reputation of diamonds, but this need not be the case. We need to provide the benchmark against which we will be judged. The issue of funding of Permanent Secretariat (PS) and Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF), is essential for strengthening the scope of KPCS. This underpins all the decisions at the Plenary.”
Stating that “the outside world would characterize this Plenary as a failure, if there is no progress on the KP definition” of conflict diamonds, Fischler added, “KP is not a sanctions imposing body. It is in our collective interest that all diamonds meet international market standards. We need a long-term commitment to protect our weakest stakeholders.”
Representing the Civil Society Coalition, Shamiso Mtisi reiterated the importance of broadening the scope of the KP. “We need to reach a conclusion on all reform areas. Failure to stop diamonds from funding conflict is a failure of the KP.”
More than 55 delegates from the 82 countries constituting KP were present on the occasion.
Over the next few days, meetings of different working groups and committees of KP will be held. Three special forums regarding Financial inclusion and women empowerment through sustainable livelihood creation, Diamond industry – Adapting to change, Diamond origin and identification were also held during the Plenary meeting.
Since the launch in 2003, the Kimberley Process has contributed towards peace, security and prosperity. India is one of the founding members of KP and is committed to keep this family together, and to take its mandate forward through inclusive, deliberative and consensus-based decision-making approach.
Pic caption: At the Inaugural Session of the KP Plenary 2019 in Delhi (from l) Mr. Alexander Alexeevich Pshenichnikov, KP Vice-Chair; Mr. B.B Swain, KP Chair; Mr. Shamiso Mtisi, Coordinator of Civil Society Coalition and Dr Anup Wadhawan, Commerce Secretary, Government of India; Mr. Stephane Fischler, President, World Diamond Council
News Source: gjepc