Shanghai Intersessional Focuses On Development
The Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) intersessional meeting that was held in Shanghai from June 10 to 12 urged all stakeholders to work together to promote the healthy and orderly development of international diamond industry.
The KP chair for 2014 vice minister Wei Chuanzhong chaired the intersessional meeting. Among the officials that addressed the Intersessional were World Diamond Council president Edward Asscher, civil society groups representative Alan Martin, Mayor of Shanghai Yang Xiong, and Zhi Shuping, a minister from the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) of the People’s Republic of China, a ministerial administrative organ directly under the State Council.
At the opening session, Yang Xiong extended a warm welcome to all delegates, adding that the KPCS was an important international cooperation scheme.
“The diamond and jewellery industry in Shanghai dates back to very early times, and Shanghai used to be the biggest manufacturing and consuming city in the Far East. Entering into the 21st century, the annual diamond transaction volume of Shanghai grew at a rate of 40%, and Shanghai is now the central city of diamond trading in China,” Yang stated. He added that Shanghai is currently in a new stage of deepening reform and extending opening up to the outside world, with the establishment of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone.
“Together with other parts of the world, Shanghai will proactively publicise the functions of the KPCS to enhance consumers’ confidence and work together to promote the healthy and orderly development of the international diamond industry,” Yang noted.
Zhi Shuping affirmed the important role of KPCS in implementing UN resolutions, combating conflict diamond, safeguarding regional peace and stability, and promoting development of the
Today, as the second largest diamond consuming country and the fourth largest rough diamond trading country, China is willing to make active contributions to the development of KPCS and the international diamond industry.”
international diamond industry. He also appreciated the development and progress achieved by the KP in the past 10 years. Zhi pointed out that as one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council and one of the founding members of the KPCS, China has been strictly abiding by relevant UN resolutions and KPCS schemes.
“Today, as the second largest diamond consuming country and the fourth largest rough diamond trading country, China is willing to make active contributions to the development of KPCS and the international diamond industry,” he said.
Zhi also put forward three proposals for this intersessional meeting: “First, strengthen communication to practically promote the development of all aspects of the Kimberly Process; second, learn from each other for valuable experiences and make joint efforts for the development of the process; and third, to consolidate and deepen our as-valuable-as-diamond friendship with this intersessional meeting.”
Wei Chuanzhong reviewed achievements made by KPCS since his chairmanship in helping and promoting the diamond industry development. Wei noted that the KPCS, with 54 participants representing 81 countries, and with active participation of the diamond industry as well as civil society organisations, is the most effective global rough diamond supervision scheme.
Wei congratulated Cote d’Ivoire on the lifting of the eight-year ban by the UN on shipment of rough diamonds. He called on the KP family to further strengthen coordination and cooperation, so as to continuously address diamond supervision issues in some conflict areas, to further improve all KP rules and procedures, and to promote the development of the KP in a proactive and feasible way.
In his speech, Asscher stressed that the mandate of the KP should remain focused on eliminating the trade in diamonds from areas of conflict. “The Kimberley Process’s scope should remain limited to disassociating conflict from the rough diamond trade. Our focus should be on improving the KP within this framework,” Asscher said.
“When we look around us there are new initiatives in the diamond and jewellery industry, some are based on profound Corporate Social Responsibility, others have a commercial and marketing effort. All are meant to prove that our diamonds or those specific diamonds marketed by certain organisations are conflict-free and contributing to a wider range of human and social aspects. The same is true today for other initiatives that are close to our hearts. It is our collective responsibility to assess and consider all potential risks, confront them, mitigate them and work in unison and harmony within the Kimberley Process,” he noted. Asscher added that the KPCS needed further innovation and self-improvement to improve the quality of the lives of all stakeholders in the chain of distribution.
Alan Martin stated that it’s important for more public and consumers to get to know and understand KPCS and its role. He said the KPCS should ensure that the legal diamond trade contributes to the economic development of all countries in the world.
The meeting was attended by about 300 delegates from 34 member countries, observers like the World Diamond Council, the African Diamond Producers Association, the Diamond Development Initiative, civil society organisations, and representatives from domestic and overseas diamond companies.
The keynote speeches and group discussions at the intersessional meeting reviewed the work of the KPCS in the first half of 2014 and set the agenda for the rest of the year. The Chinese government delegation consisting of AQSIQ, ministry of foreign affairs, ministry of land and resources and ministry of commerce, too, offered helpful suggestions and advice for the KPCS.
The KP plenary meeting of 2014 will be held in Guangzhou on November 11 this year.