Members of the WDC team in Victoria Falls, pictured on the final day of the 2023 KP Plenary (from left): Wim Soons, Ursula Obregon De La Colina, Ben Marriott, WDC Executive Director Elodie Daguzan, WDC Vice President Ronnie VanderLinden, WDC President Feriel Zerouki, Elke Ceulemans, Alexander Gul, Adriana Traviati, James Evans Lombe, Arantxa Arias-Moreno, and Bernold Richerzhagen. (Photo by Ann Van de Voorde Photography)

The recently concluded 2023 Kimberley Process Plenary has marked a significant milestone in the efforts to regulate the diamond trade and enhance consumer confidence in natural diamonds. The President of the World Diamond Council (WDC), Feriel Zerouki, expressed cautious optimism at the outcome of the Plenary, highlighting the establishment of a Permanent KP Secretariat in Botswana as a crucial step forward. This development, along with other key decisions made during the Plenary, sets the stage for strengthening the Kimberley Process (KP) and driving reform within the diamond industry.

One of the major achievements of the 2023 Kimberley Process Plenary is the finalization of arrangements for the establishment of a Permanent KP Secretariat in Gaborone, Botswana, scheduled for 2024. This decision signifies a significant milestone in the KP's efforts to enhance its administrative framework and streamline its operations. The Permanent Secretariat will serve as a central hub for coordinating KP activities and promoting cooperation among member countries. The move to Botswana, a prominent diamond-producing nation, further underlines the commitment to ensuring effective regulation and oversight of the diamond trade.

President Zerouki commended the determined efforts of KP members in addressing the organization's most challenging issues during the Plenary. The African proverb she quoted, "If you wish to move mountains tomorrow, you must start by lifting stones today," encapsulates the dedication shown by participants in tackling complex matters within the current three-year Review and Reform Cycle. Notably, the expansion of the conflict diamond definition, led by the WDC and driven by the Angolan and South African leadership, emerged as a critical focus area. This expansion aims to strengthen the KP's ability to address the issue of conflict diamonds effectively.

President Zerouki emphasized the importance of consumer confidence in natural diamonds and its direct impact on their value. The WDC's advocacy for expanding the conflict diamond definition reflects the industry's commitment to ensuring ethical practices and transparency. By addressing concerns related to the sourcing of diamonds, the KP seeks to bolster consumer trust, which, in turn, contributes to the overall value of diamonds. The willingness of participants and observers to engage in discussions on the definition demonstrates a collective determination to reform the KP and uphold its core values.

Despite the challenges faced during the Plenary, including the inability to reach a consensus on the Final Communiqué, the WDC remains confident in the future of the Kimberley Process. The organization firmly believes in the unparalleled value of the KP mechanism in regulating the trade of rough diamonds across international borders. The decisions made during the Plenary, coupled with the ongoing commitment of KP participants and observers, signify a collective effort to drive review and reform within the diamond industry. The WDC expresses gratitude to the outgoing KP Chair and the Government of Zimbabwe for their service and extends congratulations to the incoming KP Chair, Ahmed Bin Sulayem, of the United Arab Emirates.

The 2023 Kimberley Process Plenary has set a significant milestone for the diamond trade by finalizing arrangements for the establishment of a Permanent KP Secretariat and addressing critical issues such as the expansion of the conflict diamond definition. These developments demonstrate the industry's commitment to enhancing transparency, ethical practices, and consumer confidence in natural diamonds. As the diamond industry progresses, the WDC and its members remain dedicated to strengthening the Kimberley Process from within, ensuring a sustainable and responsible future for the global diamond trade.

-Equity Axis News