Building International Consensus on the Kimberley Process

The Kimberley Process (KP) is a tripartite global governance initiative bringing together governments, the diamond industry and civil society to curb the trade of conflict diamonds. It was formed in 2003 in response to international outcry over growing evidence that rough diamond purchases were financing violent conflicts and rebel movements in Africa. The KP relies on cross border controls and voluntary self regulation by the diamond industry through a system of warranties (Certification Scheme) designed to exclude conflict diamonds from legitimate trade. Compliance with minimum standards is a pre-condition for membership and continued participation. The KP also relies on review visits to monitor compliance among member states. Presently, the KP has 54 participants representing 80 diamond producers and traders and accounts for 99.8% of global rough diamonds trade. It is arguably the most successful international resource governance initiative.

Despite its remarkable achievements, reducing conflict diamonds to a fraction of a percentage, the KP has been faced with stern challenges in recent years. Questions have been raised about its continued effectiveness and relevance. Among other things, critics argue that the KP is ill equipped to deal with violations of human rights by state parties, is weak on enforcement and that its reliance on consensus has stalemated much-needed reforms. On January 1st 2013, South Africa, a founding member, assumed the chair of the KP coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the KP and amidst growing calls for reforms. Within this context, as of January 2013, SALO introduced a series of dialogues and consultations with stakeholders and research papers with the aim of supporting consensus building on KP issues and advising the SA chair.