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I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The European Union (EU) and its Member States, which act as a single Participant in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), congratulates Australia for hosting and leading the Kimberley Process, and for its contribution towards strengthening the Kimberley Process. The EU further appreciates the fora organized by Australia to address broader matters pertinent to the diamond trade.
The EU welcomes India as the current Vice Chair and as Chair for 2019.
The EU welcomes the Republic of Gabon and praises its determination to fulfilling KP requirements to become a Kimberley Process Participant.
The EU particularly welcomes the setting up under Australian Chairmanship of the Ad Committee on Review and Reform (AHCRR) tasked to review the Core Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) Document and to examine ways to enhance administrative and financial support to the Process.
The EU furthermore congratulates India and Angola as Chair and Vice-Chair respectively of the Review and Reform Committee and affirms - in its capacity as member of the AHCRR and as the 2018 Kimberley Chair - its readiness to contribute actively and constructively to the very important tasks entrusted to the newly established Committees as part of the periodic review cycle.
The EU is honoured to have been selected as the chair of the Kimberley Process for 2018. The European Union has been at the forefront of the Kimberley process from the very start and we will continue to strive for the Kimberley Process to continue fulfilling its role as a unique tool for conflict prevention and a catalyst for good governance and transparency in natural resources management.
Throughout the life of the Kimberley Process, the EU has been actively engaged in KP committees and working groups advancing the objectives of the Kimberley Process. It has worked to reinforce the integrity of the KP scheme and to strengthen the Peer Review System, with a view to ensuring that all KP participants meet minimum requirements, and the EU will continue to do so as the Chair of the overall Kimberley Process this year.
Through its 2018 Chairmanship, the EU will work to ensure the Kimberley remains fit for purpose in a changing world, addressing contemporary challenges including challenges due to instability and conflict and seizing the opportunity to help ensure the KP remains an effective instrument of peace and prosperity.
In particular, the EU will promote an open dialogue between the three pillars that make up the Kimberley Process - governments, industry and civil society – with a view to forging consensus around the reform agenda and to enhancing the effectiveness of the Kimberley Process, both in terms of peace building and conflict prevention and in terms of promotion of in-country due diligence.
In this regard, a key priority for our 2018 EU Chairmanship will be to strengthen the tri-partite relationship and to promote the establishment of multi-stakeholder forums at a national level. The Civil Society Coalition is an essential part of the Kimberley Process, and the EU will work towards ensuring that it is given a prominent and effective space in which to express its views with all actors on a truly inclusive basis.
As 2018 Chair, the EU will seek to enhance good governance in the diamond sector at different levels through exchanges of best practices and information among producing, manufacturing and trading countries and centres, through close cooperation with international organisations such as the World Customs Organisation and Interpol, and through the promotion of transparency in reporting and best practice models for information- among all Participants.
The EU is strongly committed to contribute to the implementation of the "Washington Declaration’ on artisanal and small-scale diamond mining. Human conditions in mining and the prosperity of producing communities are key concerns. The EU will support capacity-building efforts in areas relevant to compliance with KP requirements and will assess how the Kimberley process can best contribute to the implementation of the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals in producing countries to promote economic and social development and prosperity.
The EU would also encourage cooperation on issues of KP implementation with a regional dimension, including via its work on the regional approach in the Mano River Union, and will explore ways and means to develop a similar approach in other regions in the world such as the Central African region in order to address similar compliance challenges and concerns.
In this context, the EU welcomes the continuing commitment of the Government of the Central African Republic to work collaboratively with the Monitoring Team to ensure the traceability of rough diamond shipments from compliant zones and encourages the Central African Republic to continue implementing enhanced vigilance measures. As a member of the Central African Republic Monitoring Team, the EU believes it is important for the integrity of the Kimberley Process that the monitoring recommendations are duly implemented.
The EU looks forward to working with India, as Vice-Chair, with the Kimberley Process working bodies and committees, with all Participants and Observers in the year ahead.
2018 will be a crucial year for the Kimberley Process, we look forward to working closely and constructively with all stakeholders in a transparent and inclusive manner towards attaining a shared objective, i.e.: ensure the Kimberley Process can face new challenges strengthened and re-enforced, ensure the Kimberley Process remains fit for purpose in a changing world.
Thank you, Mr. President.