Today, Monday the 8th of November 2021, the Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition (KP CSC) opened the hybrid KP Plenary meeting in Moscow with a reality check. They presented observations from their grassroots work with communities impacted by diamond mining as well as from remote monitoring in various countries.
“We’ll be holding up these testimonies as mirrors throughout this week’s discussions because we regret that the Kimberley Process’ increasing preoccupation with technicalities and political grandstanding alienates this process from the realities it claims to address”, stated Mr Shamiso Mtisi, KP CSC Coordinator.
The opening address by KP CSC Coordinator Shamiso Mtisi included important updates from promising and worrying developments in Zimbabwe, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, India and Mozambique.
The KP CSC welcomed the proposed Principles for Responsible Diamond Sourcing, that are on the table for adoption in this Plenary. However, to translate this into meaningful action, the KP will have to make decisions on how to put these principles into practice. As the KP CSC highlighted in their recent call for industry action, when industry or governments limit their commitment to abstract ethical ideals, this constitutes nothing more than marketing.
The KP CSC furthermore called on the KP forum to look beyond the challenges associated with artisanal mining and give more attention to those arising from large-scale mining. “Problems with industrial mines are less common, but if things go wrong, the impact tends to be much more devastating and leaves communities powerless in a David v. Goliath battle with colossal corporate interests”, claimed Mr Mtisi. In this light, the KP CSC called on all industrial mines to seek certification from the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA), which is the only third-party, arms-length certification of industrial-scale mining for all mined materials. The KP CSC welcomed the announcement by the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) to, as first ever diamond mining company, start this IRMA certification process.
Concerning the Central African Republic (CAR), the KP CSC expressed its concerns over the increased curtailing of independent monitoring by UN experts and civil society. Furthermore, with an embargo that leaks like a sieve, and diamond mining communities pushed into the hands of armed, criminal and terrorist networks, the KP CSC reminded the KP that it will never achieve its objectives in the CAR as long as it does not embed the embargo into a more regional and constructive approach, that includes accompanying measures to mitigate the negative impacts of the embargo on the communities whose livelihoods depend on diamonds.
Read the full opening speech here: