World Diamond Council Meets to Discuss Conflict Diamond Definition
5/15/2012 3:39:14 AM Shira
The World Diamond Council (WDC) is meeting in Vicenza, Italy to reaffirm the diamond industry’s commitment to using ethically sourced diamonds and terminating the conflict diamond trade. The WDC also agrees that the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) needs to evolve to reflect the changing geopolitical environment in which diamonds are traded and to better reflect the diamond supply chain.
The WDC says it supports the expanding the definition of conflict diamonds beyond the current definition—the current definition is limited to diamonds that finance civil conflict—to include diamonds tied to violence in diamond trading and production.
U.S. Ambassador Gillian Milovanovic has suggested that the definition of conflict diamonds be changed to include "rough diamonds used to finance, or otherwise directly related to armed conflict or other situations of violence." Milovanovic is also endorsing a transition period in making the new definition.
"The World Diamond Council was not established to protect the narrow interests of the diamond and jewelry industries in the evolving campaign against conflict diamonds, although it clearly was in our interest that conflict diamonds be eliminated from the face of the earth. The WDC was established to articulate our refusal to allow the product, to which we have dedicated our careers, be used as an agent of suffering and oppression. Under no circumstances should the diamond be associated with collective violence against communities," said Eli Izhakoff, president of WDC.
Izhakoff also spoke of the fast economic growth of diamond-rich economies in Africa and emphasized the support role that the WDC needs to play in facilitating peace in those countries’ economic development.
The WDC has also expanded to expand the size of its board of directors from 20 to 25 members and questioned its own role in the world diamond industry.
“Are we mainly a defensive instrument, dedicated to preventing conflict diamonds from infiltrating our legitimate business, or are we also a body that seeks to project the potential of the diamond business to improve the lives of ordinary people in the countries and regions in which we are active? I would suggest the latter," said Izhakoff.