Kimberley Process in Trouble

Diamonds are not cocoa, but  a little diversion is always good and this post deals with the dangers and pitfalls of certification schemes. Global Witness claims that the Kimberley process is not working as intended. Devised in 2003, the KP was intended to certify that diamonds offered for sale do not come from conflict areas around the world. In its press release, the Global witness points to Zimbabwe, Lebanon, Guinea and Venezuela to show that diamonds are still being smuggled, that oversight is lax and certification enforcement weak.

Lebanon, for example, exports more diamonds than it imports without accounting for the difference. Guinea’s exports increased five-fold over the past two years without accounting for the sources of that increase. The KP investigations of these and other cases are either non-existent or slow. I am usually sceptical of certification schemes that involve a large degree of self-monitoring and the report reinforces that scepticism. The problems with the Kimberley Process highlight what can happen when governments and industry are the primary watchdogs over their own practices.

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