South Africa's Role in the Kimberley Process (Import and Export of Rough Diamonds)

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The Kimberley Process, chaired by South Africa since 2000, has its origins in the decision of Southern African countries to take action to stop the flow of "conflict" diamonds to the markets, while at the same time protecting the legitimate diamond industry. The Kimberley Process involves more than 50 governments, the European Community, the diamond industry and civil society and has established a set of minimum acceptable international standards for national certification schemes relating to trade in rough diamonds. The certification scheme is helping to stem the flow of rough diamonds from rebel-held conflict areas, in support of the existing UN Security Council sanctions, thereby contributing substantially to peace efforts.

On 5 November 2002, after more than two years of consultation and negotiation, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) was launched at a ministerial meeting held in Interlaken, Switzerland. The implementation of the KPCS began on 1 January 2003. By participating in the KPCS, participants underline their deep concern about the international trade in conflict diamonds, which can be directly linked to the fuelling of conflicts, the activities of rebel movements aimed at undermining or overthrowing legitimate governments and the illicit traffic in, and proliferation of armaments, especially small arms and light weapons.

From 1 January 2003 Participants in the KPCS have not imported rough diamond shipments from non-participating states, nor have they exported rough diamonds to non-participating states. All rough diamond trading states are welcome to participate in the Kimberley Process. The KPCS is not only contributing to peace but is also protecting the legitimate diamond industry. Less than 4 % of global diamond production is regarded as ‘conflict diamonds’, while a number of developing countries who are major producers and processors of diamonds depend heavily on the legitimate diamond industry for their economic and social development.

South Africa agreed to continue to Chair the Kimberley Process during the first year of its international implementation.

The following states and the European Community (representing its 15 Member States) will participate in the KPCS from 1 January 2003: Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Australia, Belarus, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, People’s Republic of China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cyprus, Cote d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, European Community, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guyana, Hungary, India, Israel, Japan, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Republic of Korea, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Namibia, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Russian Federation, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Venezuela, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. Japan, Cyprus, Sri Lanka and Malta have expressed a clear intention to become participants in the KPCS and will notify the Chair as soon as they are ready to participate. States ready to become Participants subsequent to 1 January 2003, will notify the Chair in writing.

For more information on the Kimberley Process, please visit www.kimberleyprocess.com.

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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa