Early February 2022, the Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition (KP CSC) met in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire for its annual planning meeting. The five-day meeting was hosted by the KP CSC’s new Coordinator, Dr. Michel Yoboue and his organization GRPIE. The physical meeting came after two years of virtual meetings due to Covid19 restrictions.
The objective of the meeting was to share experiences and learn from each other’s successes, challenges and opportunities in working on protecting the rights of communities living nearby diamond mines in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, and on the international level.
The Coalition took stock of progress on its work towards more responsible diamond governance and sought outside perspectives and advice through discussions with various stakeholders, including international NGOs (Human Rights Watch, The Sentry, Impact and Tax Justice Network Africa) and Christina T Miller Sustainable Jewelry Consulting.
Based on the insightful internal discussions and with the invited stakeholders, the Coalition strategized on how to further strengthen the unique combination of grassroots community work and international policy engagement on responsible mineral sourcing. For the coming two years, KP CSC members agreed to organize and coordinate their work on the national, regional and international level around three main priority topics:
- Identifying good and bad practices related to transparency, accountability and the redistribution of benefits to communities that host diamond mining activities;
- Documenting and mitigating environmental degradation and pollution caused by industrial and artisanal diamond mining;
- Grassroots monitoring of human rights abuses and violence linked to diamond mining and smuggling.
Another important focus of the meeting was internal governance of the Coalition. Jaff Bamenjo of RELUFA in Cameroon was elected as new Vice-Coordinator. The coalition also agreed on three new Regional Leads to coordinate its work in Southern, Central and Western Africa, a Communication Lead, as well as the responsibilities in following up on the various technical working groups of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.
A total of 15 organizations from 11 countries participated in the meeting. Among them were the Coalition’s newest member from the Central African Republic and two organisations exploring closer engagement, namely Botswana Watch and Women on Mining and Extractives (WOME) from Sierra Leone.
The opening session was graced by Dr. Bertin Daouda Ya, Permanent Secretary of the Representation of the Kimberley Process in Ivory Coast and Mr. Angui Assouakon, Representative of the Mano River Union, who both delivered an opening address.
Stay tuned for more updates on our work throughout the year!