The executive director of the World Diamond Council (WDC), Marie-Chantal Kaninda on May 31 addressed U.S. State Department officials and civil society members on the topic of responsible diamond sourcing and the Kimberley Process (KP). This is the first time that the WDC presented to the U.S. State Department and supports the WDC’s strategy to raise awareness for, and encourage participation in, efforts to combat conflict diamonds.
The presentation is part of a series hosted by the U.S. State Department Office of Threat Finance Countermeasures (EB/TFS/TFC), which advances policies that seek to minimize the funding available to groups that pose a threat to domestic, international and regional security. This includes groups that exploit the illicit trade in conflict diamonds and minerals to fund their operations against legitimate governments. In her presentation, Ms. Kaninda shared the history of responsible diamond sourcing via the WDC, the KP and the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS). She spoke of the current contributions to education, healthcare, employment and economic development made possible through responsible sourcing. She also looked ahead to the future, discussing areas where change and improvement is needed to continue to make a positive difference. These areas included the scope of conflict diamonds, KPCS minimum standards, and long term implementation of KPCS directives via a Permanent Secretariat.
Ms. Kaninda closed her presentation by reminding audiences that industry, government and civil society are stronger together. She urged participation in the WDC and asked U.S. State Department officials to support meaningful changes by exercising their voting rights as KP members. She also appealed to audiences as diamond consumers to continue to insist on ethically sourced products. Acting President of the WDC, Stephane Fischler, said, “Ms. Kaninda’s presentation is an important opportunity for us to continue to spread the diamond industry message of accountability, action and meaningful outcomes. We must all come together with one common purpose and fulfill the duty of care owed to diamond producing communities to protect their right to a secure, healthy and prosperous livelihood. We also hold our responsibility to consumers in the highest regard, those who buy our products with an expectation that the diamonds are ethically and responsibly sourced. By encouraging others to join our cause, we can ensure that the chain of trust remains unbroken.”