Bureau of Public Affairs
April 21, 2008
Rough Diamonds and The Kimberley Process PDF version
Multilateral Diplomacy and Conflict Prevention
“Diamonds are critical to the economic growth and development of African and other countries, so preserving their legitimate trade is an important foreign policy objective.”
– President George W. Bush, April 25, 2003
Conflict diamonds are diamonds used by rebel movements or their allies to finance conflict aimed at undermining legitimate governments. The use of diamonds to finance conflict remains a problem in Africa, particularly in Côte d’Ivoire and regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- Many of the world’s most fragile states are diamond producers.
- African countries produce roughly 65% of the world’s diamonds.
- Diamonds play a major role in African economic development.
- An estimated 10 million people globally are directly or indirectly supported by the diamond industry.
THE KIMBERLEY PROCESS
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme was launched in 2003 to control and monitor the trade in rough diamonds and prevent the atrocities witnessed in African countries such as Sierra Leone and Angola in the 1990s. The Kimberley Process now includes 74 countries and covers more than 99 percent of the world’s diamond production.
Under the Kimberley Process, rough diamonds must be must be shipped in sealed containers and exported with a forgery-resistant certificate which certifies that the diamonds are from conflict-free areas. The Kimberley Process monitors diamond trade through a system of peer reviews and by analyzing diamond trade and production data which is submitted quarterly by participating countries.
The United Nations Security Council first endorsed Kimberley Process efforts to control rough diamonds in Resolution 1295 in April 2002. Most recently, the United Nations General Assembly approved a resolution on November 26, 2007, recognizing that continued action to curb the trade in conflict diamonds is necessary. Kimberley Process countries met in Brussels, Belgium, in November 2007 and agreed to strengthen government oversight over the diamond industry in countries that produce, trade, cut and polish diamonds.
U.S. GOVERNMENT EFFORTS
U.S. Government agencies have taken steps to strengthen controls over the U.S. diamond industry in response to a General Accountability Office (GAO) review of the 2003 Clean Diamond Trade Act. U.S. agencies will inspect rough diamond imports and exports, provide confirmation of shipments to foreign exporting authorities and improve data collection on diamond imports and exports.
AID TO AFRICA
The U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. State Department have allotted more than $14 million since 1999 to programs to strengthen government controls in the diamond sectors in Sierra Leone and Liberia. New programs to provide geological assessments and address land tenure issues have been launched in Guinea, Mali and the Central African Republic.
For more information see:
Contact: U.S. Special Advisor for Conflict Diamonds
Sue Saarnio, U.S. Department of State 202-647-1713