EU to head body for diamond certification

BRUSSELS — The European Union took over from Australia on Monday the chairmanship of the so-called Kimberley Process, to prevent conflict diamonds from entering the mainstream rough diamond market.

Under the leadership of EU High Representative Federica Mogherini, the EU will head this international initiative to stem the trade in conflict diamonds during 2018, said a statement released by Mogherini’s office today.

The Process was launched in 2002 in the South African city of Kimberley, by a coalition of governments, civil society and the diamond industry in response to the role diamonds play in funding some of the most devastating civil wars in Africa.

Mogherini commented that “it is part of our work for human rights – to make sure that diamonds produce wealth, not modern slavery. Natural resources belong to communities, not militias.” The Kimberley Process sets out requirements for participating States to control all imports and exports of rough diamonds. It currently has 54 participants representing 81 countries, with the EU counting as a single participant.

The Belgian city of Antwerp is said to be the capital of the world diamond trade for more than five centuries and is widely recognized as the leader in the industry today.

A total of 202 million carats of rough and polished diamonds, with an overall value of USD 48 billion, were traded in Antwerp in 2016.

Source: Kuwait News Agency