WDC Concludes 13th AGM; Pledges to Strengthen the Integrity of the Diamond Industry

World Diamond Council

The World Diamond Council (WDC) recently concluded its 13th annual general meeting in Dubai.

“The event was hosted by the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) and attendees represented one of the most complete and inclusive group of global diamond industry participants in recent WDC AGM history,” the organisation announced. “Extensive and constructive discussions spanned issues and opportunities for the diamond industry to ensure that no diamond is linked to conflict or human rights abuses, a process where the WDC serves as the single voice of the diamond industry as an Official Observer of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS). Participants included all of the major global industry players in the diamond supply pipeline and strong representation of both Eastern and Western interests, as well as Africa.”

“Diamonds continue to delight consumers and at the same time they deliver tremendous value, creating employment opportunities for millions of people and providing much needed economic, healthcare and education benefits across every continent on the globe,” said WDC Acting President, Stephane Fischler. “It was wonderful to see such a strong presence at this year’s event from so many diverse interests and we are all fortunate to work together in an industry that has such a far-reaching impact, sustaining life and bringing joy, to so many around the world. It is clear that we share a sense of pride and responsibility to ensure that these wonderful attributes remain at the core of our mission.”

Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman of the DMCC, presenting the keynote address, lauded the role played by the WDC within the KPCS and in ensuring that conflict diamonds were kept out of the mainstream diamond business. “Together we commit to maintaining the credibility and cohesion of the Kimberley Process and maintaining its growth in the years to come,” he said. He went on to add that the UAE, as one of the world’s leading diamond centres, will continue to invest and build to provide everything the diamond industry needs to flourish.

Over the two-day meeting intense discussions were held, focussing on “various ways to strengthen the integrity of the complex diamond supply chain”, WDC said.

“This included ideas to broaden the scope of the KPCS to enhance prevention and reduce the risk of systemic violence and conflict. Members also explored universally accepted approaches towards responsible business conduct (such as those proposed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) that should be incorporated into existing due diligence systems,” WDC elaborated. “The approaches will enhance awareness and responsibility of all participants in the diamond supply chain.”

The AGM also reviewed the WDC System of Warranties (SoW) created in 2002 by the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (under the auspices of the WDC) to comply with, support and strengthen the KPCS.

“Consensus was reached to formalise principles related to the “duty of care” for responsible business practices,” WDC said. “The principles are intended to raise awareness and incorporate more assurances as recommended by various governance-related international and national treaties. Principles should be easily incorporated into any size organization, including small and medium sized businesses.”

The need for a KP Permanent Secretariat, mooted earlier, was unanimously supported by the WDC Board at this year’s meeting. The WDC stated that it will champion the concept as part of its KP Observer status. “This position will ensure professionalisation of work and preservation of institutional memory to strengthen the implementation of the KPCS,” WDC elaborated. “The new position will also ensure continuity and preserve institutional memory between WDC Chairs who serve a two-year term.”

Fischler concluded, “Every participant in the diamond supply chain has an obligation to our industry, to global communities, and to citizens, to adhere to only the highest ethical standards and ensure that every diamond is legitimately sourced and conflict free. Though we have achieved a great deal this year and in year’s past, it is only with continued alignment and constant vigilance that our industry can maintain consumer confidence and preserve the legacy of enchantment and awe that only a natural diamond can provide.”

The WDC announced that next year’s AGM will be held in India, hosted by the GJEPC; while the 2019 AGM will be hosted by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) in Antwerp.

News Source: gjepc.org

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