The Kimberly Process, the UN-sponsored diamond certification process, will be meeting here this week to try to evaluate its performance at the height of Hollywood hype triggered by a film which is depicting it in a bad light.
Over three hundred delegates from 71 countries are expected to descend on Gaborone for a four-day conference that starts on Monday.
“The conference will run for four days and will be attended by about 300 delegates from 47 participants (representing 71 countries1), Non-Governmental Organizations and World Diamond Council,” said a statement from the Ministry Of Minerals, Energy and Water Affairs. “The participants represent major diamond producers, diamond trading and cutting centers all around the world.”
The conference will focus on the achievements of the Kimberly Process since it was established in 2002 and try to come up with further measure aimed at tightening internal controls in countries where they are viewed as weak.
The Kimberly Process was established following a report by Global Witness. It highlighted how diamonds are being used to fund wars in conflict ridden areas of Africa. At the time, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola were involved in long running civil wars that claimed millions of lives.
Last month, following the release of the Hollywood movie, the UN raised some eye-brows over diamonds allegedly smuggled through Ghana on their way to the international market.
Following an agreement between legitimate producers, cutters, polishers and the Antwerp-based World Diamond Council, the Kimberly Process agreement was signed in Gaborone. The Process imposed a tracking system for each diamond, from its place of origin up to the end user.
Further, the conference comes to Botswana at a time when the country is battling with diversification within the diamond industry. Botswana is establishing its Diamond Park which will house DTC Botswana and diamond manufacturers. It is also seen as a positive development as IFSC is battling to attract international diamond banks into the country to help finance the manufacturers.