DDI proposes changes to the Kimberley Process

DDI proposes changes to the Kimberley Process

Every three years, the Kimberley Process (KP) undertakes to modify its policies and procedures in response to changes to the context in which the KPCS operates.

This year 2017, is a reform year. In response to a call for recommendations from the KP Chair, DDI submitted several proposals, covering six areas dealing with KP effectiveness and accountability, as well as its credibility among its own members and the international public:
1. Re-conceptualizing the Decision-making process
2. Defining a Conflict of Interest policy for the conduct of the KP affairs
3. Strengthening the monitoring mechanism
4. The inclusion of human rights in the KPCS
5. Strengthening the effectiveness of KP implementation through enhanced Technical Assistance
6. The Washington Declaration

Re-conceptualizing the Decision-making Process
a. The decision-making process in the KP is carried out by ‘consensus.’ In fact, however, ‘consensus’ in the KP has come to mean ‘unanimity’. The process has merit in encouraging members to come to broad agreement through discussions and persuasion. However, the fact that it may only take one Participant to object and to prevent any change, has often prejudiced KP and has strengthened a ‘veto’ attitude which often becomes confrontational.

DDI suggests a different process. First, consensus should always be sought. Only when consensus cannot be reached, a 2/3 majority vote of those present at a Plenary would determine the final decision. In the event that the decision is sought outside Plenary in writing, a 2/3 majority vote would be sought from all Participants, since physical presence would be irrelevant.

b. In the spirit of our tripartite system, fairness and credibility of the KP externally, the right to vote should be extended to Observers (Civil Society Coalition, World Diamond Council and Independent Observers). Entities that are a grouping, would have one vote for the entire representation, as would be the case for the European Union as a Participant. As such, there would be one vote for the Civil Society Coalition and one vote for the WDC, one vote for ADPA, and so on.

Defining a Conflict of Interest policy for the conduct of the KP affairs
The KP has no definition of Conflict of Interest for the conduct of its affairs. Yet, conflict of interest perceived or real, has frequently arisen: individuals leading review visits to their country of origin, inclusion of team members from countries with commercial interests in the reviewed country. The frequent politicization of KP matters could also be resolved with clear parameters of conflict of interest.

Strengthening the Monitoring mechanism
a. The peer-review mechanism was a compromise following very difficult negotiations in 2003. Unlike, third-party reviews, our system lacks the credibility of an objective, non-compromised analysis by independent reviewers. While a completely independent review system might not be possible or desirable, DDI proposes that independent experts should be included in all review visit teams. Independent experts may also be asked to assess Review Reports to ensure that the findings are robust and supported by the evidence.

b. All KP review visits should use an agreed template to ensure objective assessment of shortcomings and of best practices.

c. In particular, a template is needed for a meaningful evaluation of internal controls established in each country. For countries with alluvial artisanal production the template should be based on the Recommendations 2a) i-iv (Recommendations for Participants with alluvial production), contained in the Moscow Declaration (attached).

d. There are numerous complaints within the KP from Participants regarding the length of time taken for KP visit review reports. For some countries, delays have been as long as a year (Liberia, Sierra Leone). DDI proposes a time limit for KP review reports to be a maximum of three months. This would give the KP review visit team one month to write the report and the Participant one month to review and comment. An additional month might be allowed for dealing with outstanding matters and creation of a final report.

e. At present, the recommendations of review visits and any action taken is handled in a vague and unsatisfactory manner. DDI proposes that reporting on KP review visit recommendations in Annual reports should be mandatory until fully implemented. The Working Group on Monitoring should be mandated to follow this process carefully and to follow-up as required.

The Definition of Conflict Diamonds
When the KPCS was being developed, it was understood that violence in or around the production of diamonds had to be stopped. The definition of ‘conflict diamonds’ at the time centred on the use of diamonds by rebel armies for the purchase of weapons. Since then, other forms of violence and human rights abuse have appeared in connection with diamond mining and production. Attempts to add to the definition of conflict diamonds, however, have been frustrated within the Kimberley Process, leading to major internal divisions and to a serious devaluation of our reputation and credibility among consumers and in the world’s media.

DDI strongly believes that a clear application of core human rights standards throughout the rough diamond pipeline must become an essential part of the Kimberley Process mandate and identity. Continued resistance hurts KP effectiveness and credibility, and this reflects in increasingly negative ways on the diamond industry at large.

Technical Assistance
Participation in the provision of technical assistance is very limited. While many countries request assistance, very few respond, despite the fact that technical assistance has proven important in strengthening KP effectiveness. In our view, technical assistance should be seen as a collective KP responsibility. The Moscow Declaration also alludes to the need for assistance amongst Participants and donors.

DDI proposes that Participants report annually through existing mechanisms on technical assistance engagements requested and/or undertaken by them during the year. We believe that a more open and formal approach to the expression of need and any response will change the dynamic on this important issue.

The Washington Declaration
The Washington Declaration on Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining was adopted at the 2012 Plenary. The implementation of its elements has been passive and lacklustre. Yet, the importance of the Declaration lies in its potential to improve artisanal diamond mining, the greatest area of KP vulnerability. DDI believes that what gets measured, gets done. As such, reporting on advances made by countries in the implementation of the Washington Declaration should also be mandatory, both within the Working Group on Alluvial Artisanal Production and in annual reports.