When governments, the international diamond industry and NGOs came together to stem the flow of ‘blood diamonds’ – rough diamonds used by rebel movements to finance wars – the result was a unique agreement known as the Kimberley Process.
The agreement was born out of a desire in Kimberley (South Africa) to find a practical way of preventing illicit diamonds from entering the legitimate diamond trade. Launched in 2003, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) requires traders to present certificates of origin. It also imposes trade controls, a ban on trade with countries not signatories to the Process, and the publication of statistics on diamond production and trade.
The KPCS now counts 75 countries as members, including all major diamond-producing, trading and processing countries.
The European Union is a major centre for diamond trading – cities such as Amsterdam, Antwerp and London attract buyers and sellers from across the globe. Within the Union, a Regulation sets out the criteria to which anyone wishing to import or export rough diamonds must adhere. It also creates a uniform European Community Kimberley Process certificate that must be used for all shipments to and from the EU, and puts in place provisions for self-regulation by the EU’s diamond industry.