Malta stricken from Kimberley
Any company or individual importing rough diamonds to Malta should expect
to find it increasingly difficult to get their hands on the small but
extremely lucrative commodity in the near future, as a result of Malta
being stricken from the Kimberley Processs list of participating
The Kimberley Process is an international initiative backed by the United
Nations aimed at eradicating the trade in conflict (or blood)
It was revealed last week that Malta has failed to meet the Processs
tolerance period deadline of 31 July and was accordingly removed from
the list, along with 23 other countries.
In an interview published last week, Kimberley Process
Chairman Abbey Chikane explained that those countries left out of the
Kimberley Process "will not be in a position to trade in rough
diamonds with those states and regional economic integration organisations
that have been accepted as participants.
"It also means that the 53 participating countries will not import
rough diamonds to or export from those who are not participants."
Also struck from the list were fellow EU applicant countries Cyprus,
Czech Republic and Estonia. EU member state Norway was also stricken
along with a number of known conflict diamond trading countries.
It is not known at present why Malta had failed to meet the 31 July
deadline for inclusion in the Process.
The Kimberley Process is an international initiative aimed at breaking
the link between legitimate trade in diamonds and conflict diamonds.
Conflict diamonds are rough diamonds used by rebel movements or their
allies to finance conflict aimed at undermining legitimate governments.
The Kimberley Process was launched in May 2000 in the city of Kimberley,
South Africa. It started out as a consultative process, later becoming
a negotiating process which culminated in the adoption of the Kimberley
Process Certification Scheme (KPCS). The KPCS sets an international
benchmark for national certification schemes to be implemented by each
participant country through national legislation.
Although conflict diamonds constitute a very small percentage of the
global rough diamond trade, they compromise international peace and
human security and hamper economic and social development in affected
countries. The trade in conflict diamonds has resulted in gross human
rights violations in the affected areas. Consumer awareness of the situation
led to actions which could have endangered the entire diamond trade,
thereby jeopardising the economies of many countries which rely heavily
on the diamond trade. This pointed to the need to find a solution which
could balance the need to stop conflict diamonds while promoting diamonds
that contribute to economic development.
By effectively controlling the trade in rough diamonds through national
certification schemes, the trade in polished diamonds will be more transparent
and secure, thereby giving consumers the confidence that the diamonds
they buy are clean. The situation will be monitored constantly to ensure
that he effectiveness of the KPCS is maintained.
The main beneficiaries of the effective implementation of the Kimberley
Process Certification Scheme are the countries affected by rebel activity,
which is financed by trade in conflict diamonds. The broader diamond
industry benefits because the Certification Scheme provides a consistent
and stable framework for the trade, and offers a reasonable assurance
that polished diamonds are conflict-free. This has significant benefits
for developing countries, as well as other countries that have an interest
in the diamond industry worldwide.
The simultaneous implementation of the Kimberley Process Certification
Scheme began on 1 January 2003 and Malta had originally formed a part
The initial focus of the Kimberley Process is to ensure that the certification
scheme is implemented in full at the national level by each participant.
This will pave the way for systematic monitoring of adherence to the
scheme by all participants. Participants meet at least once a year in
plenary to review progress.