International concern persists about the link between illicit international trade in rough diamonds and armed conflict. While conflict diamonds constitute only a very small percentage of the international diamond trade, they have had a devastating impact on peace, security and sustainable development in affected countries.
With leadership from Canada, the United Nations (UN) has undertaken several initiatives to address this issue. In 1998, the UN Security Council imposed sanctions prohibiting the import of rough diamonds from Angola that were not controlled through an official Certificate of Origin scheme. During its term on the Security Council (1999–2000), Canada played a key role, as chair of the Angola Sanctions Committee, in pressing for measures to strengthen the implementation of these sanctions. These measures laid the foundation for the adoption of sanctions on other countries.
International attention to conflict diamonds has been sustained. At the July 2000 G8 Summit in Okinawa, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and other G8 leaders, identified the trade in conflict diamonds as a key concern in the context of the G8's work on conflict prevention. The G8 called for an international agreement on the certification of rough diamonds. In January 2001, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 55/56 [PDF, 107 KB], calling for the development of an international certification scheme for rough diamonds to prevent conflict diamonds from entering legitimate markets. As part of the G8 Africa Action Plan presented at the June 2002 Kananaskis Summit, G8 leaders pledged to support the Kimberly Process and the control measures it would develop.
The Kimberley Process and the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme
The Kimberley Process (KP) is the principal international initiative established to develop practical approaches to stemming the global flow of conflict diamonds. Launched in May 2000, the KP was initiated by several southern African countries to respond to growing international pressure to address peace and security concerns and to protect the many national economies in the sub-region (e.g., Namibia, Botswana, South Africa) that depend on the diamond industry. The KP, which was first chaired by South Africa, now includes 50 participants involved in producing, processing, importing and exporting rough diamonds.
Canada has participated in the KP since its inception. In March 2002, Canada hosted a meeting of the KP, during which the participants reached a consensus regarding a proposed international certification scheme for rough diamonds. At the subsequent ministerial meeting held in Switzerland on November 5, 2002, ministers committed to the international implementation of the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) starting on January 1, 2003.
The KPCS includes several key commitments, including a requirement that all imported and exported rough diamonds be certified under the Scheme. It also contains trade prohibitions banning the trade in rough diamonds with countries that do not participate in the Scheme.
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