KP Chair Outlines Independent Funding of NGOs, Creation of Permanent SecretariatNovember 14, 16
(IDEX Online) – Kimberley Process (KP) Chair Ahmed Bin Sulayem gave details of plans to provide independent funding of civil society groups and the need for a Permanent Secretariat for the KP at the global organization's Plenary Meeting on Monday.
He said that since taking over as KP Chair for 2016, the UAE has proposed a number of initiatives and historic proposals aimed at strengthening the KP mandate, as well as focusing on the beneficiation of Africa as to ensure producing countries on the continent receive their fair share from the diamond trade.
Keynote addresses were delivered at the start of proceedings by H.E. Abdullah Al Saleh, Undersecretary for Foreign Trade & Industry, UAE Ministry of Economy; Ahmed Bin Sulayem, the KP Chair; and Andrey Polyakov, President of the World Diamond Council.
The Undersecretary for Foreign Trade & Industry said: “Trade in diamonds, jewelry and precious metals are key pillars in the UAE's foreign trade; in fact, the country was the third largest importer of diamonds globally after India and Europe in 2015 and the second largest exporter globally after Europe. The diamond trade is certainly a key sector that contributes to the UAE’s position today as a global gateway for trade, and a reliable partner for many nations around the world.
“During our tenure as Chair of the Kimberley Process we have been focusing our efforts on creating a fairer distribution of wealth for rough diamond producing nations; encouraging a more open and transparent method of valuation; and visiting and establishing dialogue with countries who are looking to either enter or re-enter the Kimberley Process. To that point the KP Chair has visited 14 African countries so far, meeting not just with leaders across the continent, but also with farmers, laborers and miners whose voices in many cases were being heard for the first time.”
Meanwhile, Bin Sulayem said: “Taking on the Chairmanship of the KP this year has been a historic event, but also, I hope, a natural one. We have extended a welcome to every part of the Kimberley Process family and I hope you will agree that no agenda has been bolder, no issues more fundamentally critical to the success of the organization, than what we are here to discuss today. The world demands more and more of us, and we need to understand what we can do, should do, and what is – and will remain - frankly beyond our remit.”
“We have three major initiatives to discuss this week including the steady march towards a common approach to valuation; the move to establishing an efficient Permanent Secretariat, commensurate with the extraordinary tasks and responsibilities that the Kimberley Process family takes upon itself; and the independent funding of Civil Society. I am grateful for, and humbled by, the task that we have been set. But I am proud of us all here today, proud of the progress that we have made this year, and I am immensely optimistic for the future.”
Reflecting on the progress made in the first nine months as KP Chair, Bin Sulayem highlighted the key developments and initiatives put forward since the beginning of the UAE’s KP Chairmanship.
He also focused on the importance of leveling the playing field between importing and exporting countries while ensuring African source markets receive their fair share of the value of diamond production. Under the umbrella of the ‘Africa Initiative’, he visited 14 African countries. These visits focused on understanding the challenges that are facing African countries and garnering more support for the KP as nations expand their diamond production and export ambitions.
He provided an overview on the two historic initiatives being proposed and which will be the subject of discussion throughout the week. These include the establishment of a Permanent Secretariat for the KP under the United Nations, with funding from diamond consuming nations and led by an African national with in-depth knowledge of the process, as well as the creation of an independent fund for NGOs involved in the initiative in order to effectively harness the Civil Society’s potential. The UAE KP Chair announced that it will contribute $25,000 towards the establishment of this Fund, with Australia - the KP Vice Chair - looking to potentially match this amount. He called on the rest of the industry to contribute another $55,000 to create a total fund of $105,000.
A key topic throughout the meetings was the subject of rough diamond valuation, an issue deemed complex, but crucial, for the diamond industry as a whole. Building on discussions from previous forums, participants discussed the generic set of valuation criteria including a methodology based on reverse engineering, as well as other systems and processes.
There was also a lengthy debate on the impact of synthetic diamonds.
Pictured above: KP Chair Ahmed Bin Sulayem and H.E. Abdullah Al Saleh, Undersecretary for Foreign Trade & Industry.