UAE to address geopolitical gridlocks in year of chairing KP

13th November 2023

By: Marleny Arnoldi

Deputy Editor Online


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In its second undertaking as the chair of the Kimberley Process (KP), the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has vowed to advance a number of crucial initiatives through to fruition.

The KP is a United Nations programme established in 2003 to prevent conflict diamonds from entering the mainstream rough diamond market.

The UAE intends to remove political gridlocks during its term as chairing country of the KP, with Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) CEO Ahmed Bin Sulayem leading efforts. The UAE also chaired the KP in 2016.

The DMCC is the UAE’s largest free-trade zone and is located in the Jumeirah Lake Towers district of Dubai. It serves as a commodities exchange that deals in precious commodities, energy, steel and agricultural commodities.

Notably, the UAE was the first Arab country to join the KP in 2003, while its KP office was the first in the world to be International Organization for Standardization-certified in 2019.

The UAE is the largest importer and exporter of diamonds with KP certificates and issues the second highest number of KP certificates globally through its two offices in the DMCC’s business district and at Dubai International Airport.

Led by trade through Dubai and the Dubai Diamond Exchange, the UAE became the largest rough diamond trading hub in the world in 2021 and is fast approaching the top spot for polished diamonds as well.

In 2022, the UAE’s total rough and polished diamond trade rose by 17% year-on-year to reach $37.4-billion.

Sulayem will guide the KP and the 85 countries represented through a “year of delivery”, with efforts including the establishment of a permanent secretariat in Botswana, completion of the review and reform cycle led by Angola and future-proofing the KP and its operational structure.

The UAE plans to transform the existing paper-based KP certificates onto blockchain to eliminate forgery and counterfeits.

During a plenary session hosted by the outgoing chair country Zimbabwe, Sulayem said the KP holds greater significance than ever before. “It affects millions of stakeholders, and it is our collective responsibility to contribute to the stability and prosperity of the economies that depend on us year after year.”

He added that, as such, his focus as KP chair would be to solidify the KP’s ability to operate autonomously and with greater efficiency.

Commenting on the outcome of the plenary in Zimbabwe, which concluded without a complete communique, Sulayem said geopolitical gridlocks could not be allowed to impede the crucial work of the KP.

While industry and civil society members were eager to progress, certain governments persisted in using the forum to obstruct vital decisions. This ultimately has a negative impact on Africa and the millions of people who depended on it, he explained.

“Hence, our collaborative efforts with all the members of KP will start immediately as we strive to swiftly translate intentions into action, making 2024 a pivotal year. It is our shared responsibility to fulfil the promises of the KP. We owe it to Africa.”

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



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