The 2023 Intersessional Meeting of the Kimberley Process (KP) came to a close on 25th May in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, with World Diamond Council (WDC) President Feriel Zerouki expressing satisfaction with the progress made during the four-day event.
The primary objective of the KP Intersessional Meetings is to record the progress of the decisions made at Plenary Meetings. In her address to the Closing Session, Zerouki highlighted the positive steps taken on several key issues.
One of the focal points of the discussions was the ongoing Review and Reform Cycle, specifically the work carried out by the sub-team tasked with defining “conflict diamonds”. Zerouki reiterated the WDC’s firm belief in the expansion of the conflict diamond definition, emphasising that the KP has been given the mandate to pursue this important reform.
To reach a consensus on the definition and other matters addressed by the Ad Hoc Committee on Review and Reform, Zerouki stressed the necessity of candidness, trust, and respect among participants. She commended the open and robust discussions held during the event, which provided the required psychological safety for sharing views and positions in support of the reform.
Addressing the Kimberley Process Secretariat Task Force, chaired by WDC representative Wim Soons, Zerouki noted that consensus was achieved regarding the terms of reference for the new body. Scheduled to commence operations in Gaborone, Botswana next year, the task force is also nearing agreement on issuing a call for candidates for the new position of KP Executive Secretary. However, outstanding matters include determining the legal entity status of the Secretariat and finalising a host country agreement.
Zerouki expressed particular concern about the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR), emphasising the WDC’s desire to see the country achieve peace and prosperity through its mineral resources. She voiced support for the CAR Monitoring Team’s work and objectives, highlighting discrepancies in the determination of diamond values for export. These discrepancies contradict the purpose of the monitoring team’s revised operational framework, which was established to increase revenue for CAR, as well as to ensure security and stability.
While the WDC supports a KP Review Visit to CAR, Zerouki stressed that the safety and security of the Review Team must be assured before such a visit can take place.
Concluding her address, Zerouki paid tribute to the hosts of the meeting – the KP Chair and the Government of Zimbabwe – saying that their hard work, organisation and hospitality, all “contributed to the spirit of collaboration that we have experienced over the past several days.”
On a personal note, she thanked all participants in the Intersessional “for making this, my first major Kimberley Process gathering as President of the World Diamond Council, so memorable.”