“We will have time to reach the Millennium Development Goals… but only if we break with business as usual.”

Kofi Annan

Artisanal Diamond Mining and the Millennium Development Goals

The Millennium Development Goals form a blueprint agreed to by all of the world's countries and all of the world's leading development institutions. They have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world's poorest.

GOAL 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

More than a million African and South American artisanal diamond diggers and their families live in absolute poverty, working outside the formal economy, three quarters of them in countries struggling to recover from the ravages of war. The DDII's primary objective is to promote fair returns to artisanal miners for their work, thus eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.

GOAL 2: Achieve universal primary education

A large number of artisanal diamond diggers are children who have dropped out of school. The DDII aims to eliminate the phenomenon of child labour from diamond mining, allowing parents to keep their children in school.

GOAL 3: Promote gender equality and empower women

Women do not make up a large proportion of the artisanal diamond digging community, but they provide a wide range of support services with little recognition or remuneration. A formalized diamond economy will recognize and incorporate their contribution. Violence, including family and gender violence - common among communities of transient miners - will be reduced with the establishment of more settled mining communities.

GOAL 4: Reduce child mortality

Ending child labour in artisanal diamond mining and improving the returns to adult miners and their families will contribute both directly and indirectly to a reduction in child mortality.

GOAL 5: Improve maternal health

This is perhaps the only Millennium Development Goal not directly addressed by the DDII, but improved family incomes will contribute indirectly, as will improved health and safety standards for miners, especially where the transmission of HIV/AIDS is concerned.

GOAL 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

Transient artisanal mining communities are well known vectors for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. Miners, working for hours every day in polluted water, are vulnerable as well to malaria, schistosomiasis and other water-borne diseases. Improved health, safety and labour standards are prominent objectives of the DDII.

GOAL 7: Ensure environmental sustainability

Artisanal diamond mining has stripped thousands of square miles of topsoil from arable land across Africa. None of it has been replaced. Forests, animal and fish habitats and natural watercourses have been damaged or destroyed. The DDII promotes environmentally sustainable mining practices and seeks to rehabilitate exhausted diamond fields.

GOAL 8: Develop a global partnership for development

The DDII aims to replicate the success of the Kimberley Process, which brought governments, industry and NGOs together in common cause to eliminate conflict diamonds. The DDII has already joined key players in the diamond industry together with civil society and development organizations, and has been endorsed by governments in various ways. Where Kimberley is a regulatory system, the DDII will be a comprehensive, long-term partnership for development.

Activities and Plans