KP Civil Society Coalition
2018 Plenary Closing Speech
16 November 2018
Dear Participants and Observers,
Firstly, let me thank the European Union for successfully chairing the 2018 Plenary and for supporting the participation of CSC members. On behalf of the CSC I would also like to express our admiration and thanks to Mark Van Bockstael who will be retiring from the KP. Indeed, Mark has been a strong pillar of the KP since its inception, including working closely with the CSC in Zimbabwe when he was the KP Monitor for Zimbabwe in 2012.
Ladies and gentlemen, the 2018 Plenary has ended. We have taken note of progress made by the
Adhoc Committee on Review and Reform with respect to the AD on Establishment of a Permanent Secretariat and on the AD on Peer Review. We would like to commend the Working Group on Statistics and Working Group on Artisanal and Alluvial Production for resolving to disaggregate production statistics separately for artisanal production and industrial production. However, public confidence in KP is at stake because confidentiality stifles transparency and accountability of the diamond industry.
Reform and scope were high on this year’s agenda, and have been high on the CSC’s agenda for the last couple of years. Though progress during this plenary has been extremely slow and limited in scope, at least the joint effort by CSC and WDC, and the valuable proposals by Canada and the United States have been acknowledged in the final communique. However, we are worried that there were no substantive discussions on the Draft ADs on Expanding Scope and the one on Responsible Sourcing.
We are happy that the Communique includes an invitation to Participants and Observers to bring elements on this discussion and to the KP as a whole “to compile the submissions and consider them”. We urge participants and observers to do so sooner rather than later, with an open mind and full recognition of the need to broaden the definition of conflict diamonds beyond the limited and outdated scope of rough diamonds financing rebel movements. This will first and foremost be beneficial to mining affected communities who suffer diamond mining related violence, human rights violations and environmental degradation.
As we have stated in our opening speech, “Comprehensive reforms on definition should include broadening the scope to include the impacts of diamond trade on human rights across the diamond pipeline and supply chain from artisanal and small-scale mining, large-scale mining, trading, cutting and polishing centres. We cannot continue ignoring the calls by various groups for trading, cutting and polishing centres and countries to adopt clear and mandatory measures to look at their supply chains, as part of responsible sourcing and prevent use of diamond revenues to commit human rights violations. This coincides with the interest of industry to ensure their consumers that they don’t buy blood stained diamonds, and with the obligation of participants to observe the human rights and environmental treaties and frameworks that they have subscribed to.
The fact that this plenary has acknowledged that the KP should consider these elements leaves us with some hope that we can achieve progress. However, the slow pace to reach a consensus only on this acknowledgement leaves us worried that reforms will take place to secure the credibility of the KP over the coming years. We call upon all participants and observers to not let that happen and make significant progress in 2019.
As CSC we are ready to work with any participant or observer to put more ideas on strengthening the scope of the KP on the table. We expect the sharing of ideas and contributions to start immediately.
We have taken note of the impact and threat of synthetic diamonds to producer country economies and livelihoods of diamond mining communities, and the disagreements on appropriate language on whether they are synthetic rough diamonds or synthetic laboratory grown diamonds. All this shows us that if the KP does not consider the ethical, human rights and environmental angle of synthetics, then rough diamonds or natural diamonds will lose the market and this means the economies of diamond producing countries will be greatly affected.
Looking forward to next year, we hope that India as KP Chair and as host will reconsider its position on KP reforms-especially on expanding the Scope of the KP by supporting redefinition. India is known internationally for its rich jurisprudence and standard setting in human rights and environmental court cases. We expect better from India and this should be part of its priorities.
Angola has assumed an important role as Chair of the Adhoc Committee on Reform and Review. That role requires leadership, hard work, attention to detail and an inclusive approach to get everyone to agree on reforms. This is simply no longer about word play on brother and sister or different mother or different father. We also expect Angola to address the problems related to migrant artisanal miners and traders in border areas with DRC as we stated in our Opening Statement. We will be watching developments on the ground.
We are also encouraging the European Union as leader of the Core Document to proactively seek the views of everyone on strengthening the Scope of the KP, and in particular finding a way to have meaningful discussions based on the three key pillars suggested by CSC, DDI and WDC and further developed by Canada on redefining conflict diamonds.
Lastly, I would like to thank everyone for giving our members an opportunity to participate actively in all working bodies of the KP.
Thank you all.
On behalf of the KP Civil Society Coalition