DDI to manage Kimberley Process technical assistance

The Diamond Development Initiative (DDI) is very pleased to announce that with the assistance of a grant from Signet Jewelers Ltd., it has begun coordinating the technical assistance function of the Kimberley Process.

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) is a joint government, industry and civil society initiative to stem the flow of conflict diamonds – rough diamonds used by rebel movements to finance wars against legitimate governments. The technical assistance function coordinates support among and between KPCS members in order to enhance compliance and to improve development potential in countries where diamonds are mined artisanally.

“We very much welcome the opportunity to manage the technical assistance component,” said
Dorothée Gizenga, Executive Director of DDI. “This is an important part of the Kimberley Process and one where we feel DDI has a lot of value to add.”

Signet Jewelers is the largest specialty jewelry retailer in the US, UK and Canada, with over 3,600 stores, a diamond polishing factory in Botswana and a diamond buying office in India. “As perhaps the largest purchaser of polished diamonds in the world,” said Mark Light, Signet Jewelers Ltd. CEO, “this is an excellent match for us. The Kimberley Process can and should be about more than regulation. It must also add value to diamonds and to the communities and countries where they are mined and polished. We believe that improved technical assistance – coordinated by DDI – is one way towards helping accomplish that.

An estimated 16% of global annual rough diamond production comes from artisanal sources, involving between 1-1.5 million diggers. Some of those diamonds find their way into jewelry counters around the world, including those in our stores. We believe retailers have a special responsibility to help, when possible, and that’s why we support the work of DDI with technical assistance to the KPCS and in artisanal mining communities is critical.”

The World Diamond Council (WDC) represents the diamond industry in efforts to control the trade in diamonds covered by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, and coordinates overall administrative support for the KPCS. WDC President Edward Asscher said he was pleased with the initiative that will be undertaken by DDI. “With the support provided by Signet Jewelers Ltd., DDI takes on an essential component of the KPCS’ raison d’être,” he said. “Technical cooperation within the KPCS has great potential, not just for better compliance, but for advancing the effectiveness of the Kimberley Process and the developmental importance of the diamond industry.”

DDI aims, through education, policy dialogue and projects working directly with artisanal miners and their communities, to reduce poverty and promote sustainable development. www.ddiglobal.org

Signet Jewelers Limited is the largest specialty jewelry retailer in the US, UK, and Canada. Signet’s Sterling Jewelers Division operates nearly 1,500 stores in all 50 states primarily under the name brands of Kay Jewelers and Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry. Signet’s UK Division operates approximately 500 stores primarily under the name brands of H.Samuel and Ernest Jones. Signet’s Zale Jewelers Division operates over 1,600 locations in the US and Canada primarily under the name brands of Zales, People’s, and Piercing Pagoda. Further information on Signet is available at www.signetjewelers.com. See also www.kay.com, www.jared.com, www.hsamuel.co.uk, www.ernestjones.co.uk, www.zales.com, and www.peoplesjewellers.com.

For more information, please contact: Tenzin Wangkhang at 613-565-0507 ext. 101, tenzin.wangkhang@ddiglobal.org.