Kimberley Process: The International Certification Scheme to Combat Conflict Diamonds

Diamonds are widely regarded as a symbol of love and luxury, but for many years, the diamond trade has been plagued by unethical practices such as the trade of conflict diamonds. In the late 1990s, the international community came together to create the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), a global initiative to combat the trade of conflict diamonds. In this article, we’ll explore the history and impact of the Kimberley Process and its role in ensuring that the diamond trade is ethically responsible.

What are Conflict Diamonds?

Conflict diamonds, also known as blood diamonds, are diamonds that are mined and traded to finance armed conflict against governments. These diamonds are often mined under inhumane conditions, and the profits are used to fund violent insurgencies or civil wars. The sale of conflict diamonds is illegal, and it has been estimated that up to 15% of diamonds on the market are conflict diamonds.

The History of the Kimberley Process

In 1998, the world was shocked by the brutal civil war in Sierra Leone, which was partly fueled by the trade of conflict diamonds. In response, NGOs, the diamond industry, and governments came together to create the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme in 2003. The aim of the scheme was to prevent conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate diamond trade and ensure that diamond-producing countries were not financing violent conflicts.

How does the Kimberley Process work?

The Kimberley Process requires all diamond-producing countries to adhere to a set of regulations that prevent the trade of conflict diamonds. These regulations include the establishment of a legal framework for the diamond trade, the creation of a system to track diamonds from mine to market, and the establishment of a certification scheme to ensure that only legitimate diamonds enter the market.

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme requires that every shipment of rough diamonds be accompanied by a certificate from the exporting country that states that the diamonds are conflict-free. These certificates are validated by the importing country’s government, and any shipment that does not have a valid certificate is rejected. In addition, the Kimberley Process also requires that diamond-trading countries establish a system to monitor and regulate the trade in diamonds to ensure that they are conflict-free.

Impact of the Kimberley Process

Since its creation, the Kimberley Process has made a significant impact on the diamond trade. It has helped to reduce the trade in conflict diamonds and improve the living and working conditions for many diamond miners. The KPCS has been successful in preventing the trade of conflict diamonds in many countries, including Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Angola.

However, there have been criticisms of the Kimberley Process, with some claiming that it has not gone far enough in ensuring that all diamonds are ethically sourced. There have also been reports of lab grown diamonds UK from conflict zones being smuggled into the market, bypassing the Kimberley Process certification scheme.

In conclusion, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme is an important step towards ensuring that the diamond trade is ethical and responsible. While it has made significant progress in reducing the trade of conflict diamonds, there is still work to be done to ensure that all diamonds are ethically sourced. By continuing to support and improve the Kimberley Process, we can help to create a more sustainable and ethical diamond trade.


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