EU, India propose to be successive chairs of Kimberly Process in 2018 and 2019

Official representatives of the European Union and India participating in the , currently under way in Dubai, made a co-ordinated proposal under which EU will assume responsibility as KP vice-chair in 2017 and as KP chair in 2018, while India will become KP vice-chair in 2018 and assume the position of KP chair in 2019.

Addressing the participants at the KP meet, Tung-Lai Margue, head of the delegation of the EU to the KP, said the two delegations were making this announcement as responsible KP partners, and ''offering a common solution'' so as to ''(avoid) situations of conflict and (provide) stability to the KP in the next crucial years to come''.

Margue's presentation outlined the following goals that EU and India shared for the KP:

  • Forge consensus during the next review cycle to reach agreement on a number of shared priorities that we think will ensure the KP becomes stronger and more effective;
  • Enhance cooperation and partnership with the United Nations' system and with the international financial institutions as also explore how the KP can contribute to the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals;
  • Work towards an agreement on ensuring the effectiveness of the KP scheme and further strengthening its implementation and enforcement; and
  • Renew and reinforce the engagement with industry and civil society by actively promoting an open, constructive and substantial dialogue among the three constitutive pillars of the KP.

According to the EU representative, an agreement on the proposed common solution will provide the KP with clear and predictable chairmanship for 2018 and 2019 and a continuous programme around shared priorities between consecutive chairs.

Manoj Dwivedi, joint secretary, department of commerce and head of the Indian delegation told the KP intersessional meeting that India and EU had expressed the intent to work jointly in the KPCS for strengthening it. ''We also would stress on the continuity of good work together as vice chair and the chair one after the other which will not only be in the interest of continuity but also strengthen the KP as was done during our successive chairpersonships in 2007 and 2008 earlier,'' he added.

Dwivedi said the proposal is on the lines of the amended administrative decision for rules and criteria for selecting candidates for vice chair of the Kimberley Process, and added that a formal application to this effect will be moved by India and EU as stipulated in the administrative decision after the chair formally calls for applications for vice chair of 2017.

The Kimberley Process (KP) is a government-led certification scheme, initiated in a bid to clean up the diamond trade. The scheme was launched in 2003 and requires member states to set up an import and export control system for rough diamonds. Over 75 of the world's diamond producing, trading and manufacturing countries participate in the scheme.

However, the scheme has a narrow definition of conflict diamonds - Conflict diamonds are defined by the Kimberley Process as 'rough diamonds used by rebel movements to finance wars against legitimate governments'. As a result of this narrow definition, the Kimberley Process is not empowered to address the broader range of risks to human rights posed by the trade in diamonds, such as those which have been documented in Zimbabwe.

Also, since it applies only to rough diamonds, once stones are cut and polished, they are no longer covered by the scheme.

The diamond trade undertook to deliver a meaningful and independently verifiable system of warranties but has yet to deliver on that commitment. Ultimately, loopholes in the Kimberley Process and the failure to effectively adapt to address a broader range of human rights concerns remain.