To prevent diamonds from areas of conflict entering into the legitimate diamond supply chain, diamonds are monitored at every point of the diamond pipeline, from mining through to retail. These monitoring processes are called the Kimberley Process and System of Warranties.
The Kimberley Process is a UN mandated system, and today over 99% of all diamonds are certified through the Kimberley Process to be from conflict free sources. Read on to learn more about the Kimberley Process, the System of Warranties and how the diamond industry, governments and NGOs are continuing to work to eliminate conflict diamonds.
Strengthening Industry Safeguards
At the November 2007 Kimberley Process review meeting held in Brussels, Belgium, 74 nations, non-governmental organizations, including Global Witness and Partnership Africa Canada, and the World Diamond Council met and came to agreement on several important measures designed to strengthen the Kimberley Process. These included:
* The endorsement of guidance on strengthening internal controls of Participants with rough diamond trading and manufacturing (known as the Brussels Declaration)
* The announcement of the Brussels Initiative which will enhance the control and monitoring of rough diamonds from the Ivory Coast
* Completion of the first round of peer review visits of Kimberley Process Participants was completed
* The first publication of diamond production statistics
* The Working Group of Artisanal Alluvial Producers (WGAAP) presentation of a matrix of challenges facing artisanal/alluvial producing countries to be used as a tool to help improve their internal controls
* The growth in the number of Kimberley Process Participants to 74, with the inclusion of Turkey, Liberia and the Republic of Congo For more detailed summary of agreements read The Kimberley Process Final Communique.
For more detailed summary of agreements read The Kimberley Process Final Communique.
Ensuring a Conflict Free Diamond Industry
After rough diamonds are mined, they are transported to Government Diamond Offices.
EXPORT (KIMBERLEY PROCESS):
After arriving at the Government Diamond Offices, the source of the diamonds is checked to ensure it is conflict free. The diamonds are then sealed and placed into tamper resistant containers and issued a government-validated Kimberley Process Certificate, each bearing a unique serial number. There are 74 countries that have implemented the principles of the Kimberley Process and have it enshrined in their national law. Only these countries may legitimately export rough diamonds.
IMPORT (KIMBERLEY PROCESS):
Diamonds can only legally be imported into one of the 74 Kimberley process countries. Once diamonds are imported, the government customs office, in conformance with its national procedures, checks the certificate and seals on the container. Any rough diamonds without a government-validated Kimberley Certificate or that are unsealed are turned back or impounded by Customs.
MANUFACTURING/TRADING (SYSTEM OF WARRANTIES):
Once a diamond has been legitimately imported it is ready to be traded, cut and polished and set into jewelry. Several companies may be involved in this process. Each time the diamond changes hands it must be accompanied by a warranty on invoices stating that the diamond is not from a conflict source. This is called the System of Warranties. Manufacturers/traders are required to audit these System of Warranties statements on their invoices as part of their annual audit process and to keep records for 5 years.
RETAIL (SYSTEM OF WARRANTIES):
Retailers are responsible for ensuring that the diamonds they stock and sell carry a warranty that they are conflict free. Retailers are required to audit these Systems of Warranties statements on their invoices as part of their annual audit process and to keep records for 5 years. The System of Warranties does not require the warranty to appear on the consumer's receipt. But by implementing measures for greater supervision, compliance and accountability, through the System of Warranties, within the diamond trade, consumers can be assured that the diamonds they buy are from sources that are free from conflict. Consumers can ask for assurances from their retailers that their diamond is from sources free from conflict.
To learn more about the questions you can ask your retailer visit Buy With Confidence.
THE KIMBERLEY PROCESS
Conflict diamonds came to the attention of the world media during the extremely brutal conflict in Sierra Leone in the 1990s. The UN, governments, the diamond industry and non-governmental organizations (such as Global Witness, Amnesty International and Partnership Africa Canada), recognized the need for a global system to prevent conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate diamond supply chain and thus helping to fund conflict.
They developed an agreement called the Kimberley Process, which requires participating governments to ensure that each shipment of rough diamonds be exported/imported in a secure container, accompanied by a uniquely numbered, government-validated certificate stating that the diamonds are from sources free of conflict. View a sample of a Kimberley Process certificate.
Under the Kimberley Process, diamond shipments can only be exported and imported within co-participant countries in the Kimberley Process. No uncertified shipments of rough diamonds will be permitted to enter or leave a participant's country. This ring-fences conflict diamonds and as such ensures they are unable to enter the legitimate diamond supply chain and thus, cannot be used for illegitimate purposes.
In November 2002, 52 governments ratified and adopted the Kimberley Process Certification System, which was fully implemented in August of 2003.
Today, 74 governments, in partnership with the diamond industry and NGOs, are committed and legally bound to the UN-mandated process. Kimberley Process participants currently account for well over 99% of the global production of rough diamonds.
Kimberley Process participants undergo periodic reviews, along with peer monitoring to ensure compliance. Furthermore, all rough diamond sales are independently audited, and are also subject to separate governmental regulations. Any country that is found not to be in compliance can be sanctioned by the Kimberley Process.
Kimberley Process Requirements
- Each shipment of rough diamonds crossing an international border must be:
- Transported in a tamper-resistant container
- Accompanied by a government-validated Kimberley Process Certificate
- Each certificate must be resistant to forgery, uniquely numbered and describe the shipment's contents
- The shipment can only be exported to another Kimberley Process participant country
- It is illegal for uncertified shipments of rough diamonds to either be imported or exported by a Kimberley Process participant country
- Failure to comply with these procedures can lead to confiscation or rejection of parcels and/or criminal sanctions
- If any concerns arise regarding a country's adherence to the Kimberley Process, they are investigated and dealt with at an intergovernmental level
SYSTEM OF WARRANTIES
Under this system, which has been endorsed by all Kimberley Process participants, all buyers and sellers of both rough and polished diamonds must make the following affirmative statement on all invoices:
"The diamonds herein invoiced have been purchased from legitimate sources not involved in funding conflict and in compliance with United Nations Resolutions. The undersigned hereby guarantees that these diamonds are conflict free, based on personal knowledge and/or written guarantees provided by the supplier of these diamonds."
All members of the trade who provide such assurances should keep records of both their customer warranties and their System of Warranties statements from their suppliers. This flow of warranties in and out must be audited and reconciled on an annual basis by the company's own auditors. If asked for by a duly authorized government agency, these records must be able to prove that the supplier is in compliance with the Kimberley Process.
Failure to abide by the aforementioned principles exposes the member to expulsion from industry organizations. Under the terms of the Kimberley Process, it will be considered a violation to issue a warranty declaration on a sales invoice unless it can be corroborated by warranty invoices received for purchases. Failure to adhere to these principles will prompt investigation and could result in expulsion from the various diamond industry institutions.
The Kimberley Process is constantly being reviewed for improvements. This review is currently being undertaken by the international governments who are members of the Process, with input from NGOs, diamond industry experts and other interested parties. The system is continuously reviewed and improvements adopted. A report of these actions are then presented to the United Nations the following month.
In addition to the Kimberley Process and System of Warranties, the diamond industry - along with governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) - is taking additional actions to eradicate conflict diamonds. For example, the Diamond Development Initiative aims to find sustainable methods of ensuring that diamonds are mined and distributed for the benefit of local communities and local governments.