WDC praises establishment of permanent Kimberley Process secretariat in Botswana

16th November 2023

By: Darren Parker

Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online


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World Diamond Council (WDC) president Feriel Zerouki has said the finalisation of arrangements for the establishment of a permanent Kimberley Process (KP) secretariat in Gaborone, Botswana, in 2024, represents the setting of a significant milestone.

She was speaking at the conclusion of the 2023 KP plenary held on November 10 at Victoria Falls, in Zimbabwe, after the plenary agreed on 98 items.

After a marathon session of 15 hours, she said she was also encouraged by the determined effort shown by KP members to address the body’s most challenging issues, within the framework of the current three-year review and reform cycle. 

“If you wish to move mountains tomorrow, you must start by lifting stones today,” she said, quoting an African proverb.

The plenary meeting had wrapped up after five days of intense deliberations, with all decisions and agreements reached by consensus being issued in an official statement by Zimbabwe Local Government and Public Works Minister and outgoing KP chairperson Winston Chitando. He will be succeeded by new KP chairperson Ahmed Bin Sulayem of the United Arab Emirates.

Over the course of the plenary meeting, the KP secretariat task force, led by the WDC and supported by officials from the government of Botswana, managed to complete the necessary agreements for the operation and status of the new KP administrative body.

It will begin work in Gaborone next year after the official appointment of an executive secretary. Until then, the administrative support mechanism that has been supplied by the WDC to the KP since 2013 will continue to operate.

The Angolan and South African leadership of the ad hoc committee on review and reform drove progress on critical issues such as the expansion of the conflict diamond definition led by the WDC.

“Progressing with an expansion of the definition of conflict diamonds is imperative, both for the KP and for consumer confidence in natural diamonds. The encouraging progress and engagement in discussions on the definition so far is a testament to the willingness of participants and observers to reform the KP,” Zerouki said.

The WDC said it strongly believed in the importance of the KP in regulating the trade for rough diamonds across international borders. Despite the challenging landscape and the fact that the plenary was unable to reach consensus on the final communiqué, which resulted in the statement by the KP chair being distributed only within the KP family, many decisions were made to drive forward review and reform, cementing the work accomplished by KP participants and observers over the past 12 months.

The WDC and its members expressed confidence in the KP’s future and were committed to strengthening the process from within.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online




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