India to Chair Kimberley Process from 1st January 2019
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) Plenary 2018, was held in Brussels, Belgium, from 12th-16thNovember 2018.EU handed over the Chairmanship of KPCS to India from 1st January, 2019.
On the concluding day of the Plenary, Ms. Federica Mogherini, High representative for Foreign Affairs and Security policy, Vice- President of the European Commission,in the closing ceremony, handed over KPCS Chairmanship to India, from 2019, by passing on the gavel to Commerce Secretary, Dr. Anup Wadhawan.
During his valedictory address, Commerce Secretary, Dr. Anup Wadhawan, said that India as a KP Chair, from 01st January 2019, will be committed to make the KPCS a stronger process in terms of inclusiveness, strengthened administration and implementation, efficient in terms of delivery of what it promises, more transparent and empathetic towards the living standards of people who are dependent on the production, trade and manufacture of diamonds.
He further said that India is sensitive to the issues and challenges of Artisanal & Small-Scale Mining (ASM) and acknowledged the contribution made by the KP members, observers and agencies for the upliftment of ASMs. India, during its Chairmanship will continue with the tradition and aim to support the ASMs with capacity building, technical assistance and education on valuation, differentiation between natural and lab grown diamonds, importance of legal and formal mining practices.
On the sidelines of the Plenary, Chair of Working Groups conducted meetings to discuss some key issues like KP statistics and confidentiality, synthetic diamonds and separate HS code for synthetic rough diamonds, issues relating to review visit and review mission and the issue of Central African Republic (CAR).
The 4-day Plenary also witnessed discussion on environmental challenges in diamond mining and industry responsibility.
During the Plenary session, India held bilateral meetings with Botswana, USA, Russian Federation & World Diamond Council to discuss on various issues related to KPCS and its working groups.
India is the founding member of KPCS and is actively involved in KP activities to ensure that almost 99% of the diamond trade in the world is conflict free. India is committed to maintain KP as an efficient and effective process in order to ensure the conflict diamond free status. India is at the forefront in addressing the issue of differentiation between Natural Diamonds and Lab Grown Diamonds and ensure responsible business in this area.
India chaired the Ad hoc Committee on Review and Reform (AHCRR).
The AHCRR held one joint session with Chairs of other Working Groups and 4 sessions with AHCRR committee members to discuss the issue of funding of Permanent Secretariat (PS), Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF), peer review mechanism and consolidation to the core document.
This year was the fifteenth anniversary of KPCS. Since its launch in 2003, the Kimberley Process has contributed towards peace, security and prosperity. It has proven to be an effective multilateral tool for conflict prevention in stemming the flow of conflict diamonds. The Kimberley Process has made valuable developmental impact in improving the lives of most people dependent on the trade in diamonds.
On expansion of scope KP India stated that KPCS has a well-structured process and any issues discussed should be in relation to trade without mixing up with non-trade issues.
The next Intersessional session is slated to be held in India as Chair. Botswana and the Russian Federation will serve as Vice-Chair during the period of 2019-2020.