WDC President’s opening speech – KP Intersessional Antwerp - 18 years ago, the industry was mobilized by being confronted with atrocities financed through the trade in diamonds. It worked at first, with the UN, a few African countries and NGO’s to define a process denying criminals part or whole of the proceeds needed to wage war. 3 Years later an agreement was signed. The Kimberley Process.
Only recently have we seen the world waking up to other minerals being used to fund destabilizing violence.
So, what have we accomplished in 15 years of KP?
We believe we have been successful in delivering on our mission, as defined so far, related to organized violence by rebel forces. We have gone further, as in Zimbabwe, by sanctioning by consensus state violence, and introducing a partial geographical embargo. In Ivory Coast in the grip of a rebellion, we played our role in supporting a peaceful solution. And in CAR, with anti-‐government forces partially financing themselves through diamonds we have established a strict monitoring process in the middle of a difficult situation, where as always, the inhabitants are the real victims.
We believe it is time to reform and strengthen our process.
We believe it is time for diamond producing countries to use the enormous potential the KP offers to make it work better and more to their advantage.
We believe it is time for alluvial diamond producing countries to finally have something to show after decades of diamond recovery. We have seen the example of Namibia, Botswana, South-‐Africa, Lesotho, Angola. Though more and better can be done in bridging the wealth gap, tackling environmental degradation and boosting governance, it remains a fact that the export of diamonds, has strongly benefited these KP members.
This club has one issue. Too few members. It is time to attract some more.
But stick to strict membership rules.
Only the ones that spend their mineral proceeds on assuring a decent future for their people can apply. Those who can show roads, schools, hospitals, energy distribution, communication. Those who can provide a safe and secure environment. Those whose children can get a good education, stand on their feet and compete in the world for jobs. Those who see gender as a powerful engine and not a potential to discriminate.
We must broaden our mandate to have a process with a mission to build the necessary capacity to enlarge this club, to make sure these alluvial producers with their huge numbers of artisanal diamond communities truly benefit.
We must change our priorities. Focusing not first and only on maintaining consumer confidence but also on using this unique process in building capacity and responsibility in
providing better lives and a better future to millions. That the priority of our process is to equally benefit both the diamond communities and the consumers buying their diamonds.
This will not only strengthen trust in our product but more than that it will bring back hope and pride to the very people of the alluvial mining communities.
In biblical numerology the number 18 is a highly spiritual number and means “life”.
On the 18th year of the WDC, we urge you to embrace the opportunity of the reform and review and turn from combatting conflict to promoting life.