Delegation of the European Union to Lesotho

EU engagement in Kimberley Process: A pledge to more sustainable livelihoods of mining communities

19/06/2018 - 08:50
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Natural resources belong to local communities not to militias. Since 2003, the EU and international partners representing 99% of the world’s diamond trade have joined forces to make sure that the production and trade of rough diamond contributes to peace and sustainable economic and human development. Through the Chairmanship this year, and a number of concrete projects, the EU is committed to prevent the trade in conflict diamonds and improve mining communities’ livelihoods.

kimberley process

In 2018, the European Union holds the Chairmanship of the Kimberley Process, a global partnership which brings together governments, industry and civil society - the tripartite structure - with the aim to eliminate the trade in so-called conflict diamonds worldwide. Throughout the year, the EU will strive to ensure that the process remains a fitting tool for conflict prevention in our changing world. To modernise the Kimberley Process, the EU aims to strengthen the tripartite structure, reinforce the implementation of the Kimberley Process in particular through regional cooperation, and supporting capacity building.

Artisanal and small-scale diamond mining, often subsistence mining, constitutes 15% of the total world diamond production. When conducted in an informed and responsible way, artisanal and small-scale production has the potential of lifting miners out of poverty. Artisanal mining will be on the table of an Intersessional Meeting organised by the EU, to be held in Antwerp, Belgium between 18-22 June.

The EU funds several projects under the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace with a focus on artisanal mining and supports regional cooperation in areas where artisanal diamond mining is common.

 

Promoting property rights and artisanal diamond development in Côte d’Ivoire

In the town of Tortiya, diamond miners are turning to agriculture, as diamond deposits have been exhausted. Women, however, often lack access to fertile agricultural lands.

Kimberley Process
Kimberley Process

 

To address the crucial obstacle to economic development and women’s empowerment, the Property Rights and Artisanal Diamond Development (PRADD) project in Côte d'Ivoire, co-funded by the EU and USAID, helps improve the livelihoods of small-scale mining communities and make diamonds effective tools for development. Under this project, women have rehabilitated almost 8 hectares of old diamond mining land in 2015. In addition, 30 cooperatives received training on improved mining techniques for more precise diamond extraction. These mining techniques have contributed to mitigate environmental and safety risks for miners and their communities.

 

Regional approach in West Africa addresses common challenges in alluvial and artisanal mining

We are stronger when we work together. Hence EU’s unswerving support to the regional cooperation between the Mano River Union countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) that face similar challenges to fully implement the Kimberley Process. The diamond trade in this region is alluvial and artisanal and is particularly prone to smuggling, given many mine sites are located in border areas.

Kimberley Process
Kimberley Process

 

As such, under the Mano River Union Regional Approach project, several workshops have been held to enhance regional collaboration, support stronger KP implementation and address the issue of smuggling. The project has brought together national multi-stakeholder groups bringing together governments, civil society and industries to find solutions to local problems arising in diamond mining areas. The four countries also receive targeted assistance, such as training on the mining cadastre system in Sierra Leone.

Artisanal mining yet poses several challenges and tackling these challenges is among the priorities of EU’s Chairmanship. This will therefore be an issue of special attention during the Intersessional meeting in Antwerp. On 18 June prior to the meeting, the EU hosts an event to encourage regional cooperation in Central Africa. Artisanal mining will also be the focus of a Special Forum on 19 June.