Jewelers of America and the Diamond Manufacturers and Importers Association of America are urging the Kimberley Process to make further progress on key reforms during the upcoming KP Plenary. The session will take place in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Oct. 31–Nov. 3.
“Since it was established, the Kimberley Process has been a vital tool in eliminating conflict diamonds,” said JA president and CEO Matthew A. Runci in a statement. “We have reached a crossroads where the KP must take steps to evolve as a system and make improvements that enable it to better address issues that fall outside its initial mandate. If these changes cannot happen within the KP, the industry will have to find its own solutions to maintain consumer confidence.”
The associations offered up improvements they believe the KP should adopt:
Establish a permanent KP Secretariat
Develop an improved voting system
Develop an arbitration and conciliation system with regard to participant dispute resolution
More systematic internal control monitoring of participants
A robust enforcement mechanism
“The KP is the foundation upon which all other systems are anchored,” says DMIA president Ronald Friedman in a statement. “We cannot minimize the importance of the KP in terms of what it has accomplished, nor should we deny its shortcomings. We must concentrate and focus on strengthening consumer confidence by defending the interests of all participants in the diamond pipeline.”
JA and DMIA continue to support the KP, but both have been working with other industry stakeholders to ensure the U.S. industry is prepared to deal with issues that may arise if the KP proves unable to address them. The associations’ goal is to develop a more systematic approach for protecting the U.S. diamond and jewelry industry in order to shore up areas that remain beyond the scope of the KP.
“A diamond jewelry purchase is significant—often marking a major personal and emotional milestone for a consumer,” said Runci. “With so much at stake, the industry must continue to move toward greater transparency and accountability in order to maintain and improve consumer trust.”