Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition

The road to Kimberley Process reform is long and arduous as infighting and distrust dominate Botswana meeting

Press statement on Kimberley Process Intersessional Meeting

Botswana, Kasane – 30 June 2022

In its closing remarks at the Kimberley Process (KP) Intersessional meeting in Botswana, the KP Civil Society Coalition (CSC) deplored the incapacity of the certification scheme to address its demons. It finds the KP ship rudderless, or actually sinking. The system is broke, and the mistrust and infighting that dominated the meeting moves the process away from building cohesiveness on how to fix it.

Last week, the KP CSC entered the intersessional meeting in Kasane, Botswana, calling for a long overdue expansion of the conflict diamond definition, for a suspension of the Russian Federation until it ends the aggression against Ukraine, and for the adoption of a clear reform agenda to make the KP fit for purpose. 

None of that happened. The KP failed to address the elephants in the room. The Coalition expected that veto power would be used to avoid the KP to address Russian conflict diamonds. Worse is that even a discussion on how to generally fix the KP’s weaknesses in breaking the link between diamonds and violent conflict was blocked by a small minority.

“The KP CSC has for years been calling for a meaningful KP reform. This reform is more urgent than ever. Yet, starting preparations for a new reform cycle, while we are not even allowed to discuss why it is needed, would be a mistake. It would just serve as a façade to pretend that the KP has matters under control and is dealing with its weaknesses. In reality it is not. A reform agenda should start with frank discussions on the KP’s current shortcomings and be built on a thorough assessment of why all previous reform attempts failed. Without this, talking about KP reform simply serves to hide the crisis the KP is in and divert attention away from the Russian diamond controversy”, states Michel Yoboue, coordinator of the KP CSC. 

Meaningful reform discussions will require a lot of effort to build trust and convergence. The intimidation and boycotts as experienced by the CSC during this Intersessional meeting do not provide a solid basis for this trust. The CSC will need to be given space to voice its views and concerns. 

“Reform will not happen if one veto is enough to stop discussions from taking place.   Only if the KP is able to openly and honestly discuss its weaknesses, will a reform process have any chance of success”, concludes Michel Yoboue.

Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition

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