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Ladies and gentlemen,
I have the honour as chair of the Kimberley Process in 2018 to speak today on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The European Union has been at the forefront of the Kimberley Process since the very beginning. As from the start, the European Union has played an active role in the development of this unique global partnership to stop conflict diamonds, grounded in the United Nations.
The Kimberley process came about, as a result of concerted action by governments, industry and civil society. Its creation followed a call by this distinguished Assembly.
The European Union is proud of what has been achieved since the Kimberley Process was launched, now little more than 15 years ago. The process has contributed decisively to ending the trade in ‘blood diamonds’, which fuelled several violent conflicts in the late 1990s. Since 2003, the share of what can be defined as conflict diamonds has decreased, from around 15% at the time, to less than 1% today. This is significant. But these are not just figures. For several countries and communities, the Kimberley Process has made the difference between life and death, between war and peace.
This joint effort to ensure that ‘peace’ diamonds benefit communities, not militias, has continued to attract new Participants. Most recently, the Republic of Gabon joined the process. Still more countries have applied to join.
As Chair of the Kimberley Process last year, the European Union has worked not only to ensure that the Kimberley process delivers. The European Union has also sought to make sure that the Kimberley process remains equipped to address today’s challenges, including challenges that result from instability and conflict, and that the process remains an effective instrument for peace and prosperity, contributing to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
One of the priorities of the EU Chairmanship was to further strengthen the tripartite of governments, civil society and industry, which is the backbone of the Kimberley Process. Today, the tripartite stands reinvigorated.
As Chair, the European Union devoted considerable attention to sustainability and responsibility in artisanal and small-scale mining, in keeping with the EU’s commitment to the implementation of the Brussels, Moscow and Washington Declarations.
The European Union continues to encourage regional approaches to addressing challenges of compliance, building on the experience of the Mano River Union. The EU welcomes the efforts to develop a similar approach in the Central African region.
Transparency and accountability of the rough diamond supply chain are paramount to ensure a responsible and diligent approach to sourcing rough diamonds. The European Union supports a continued, strengthened commitment of the Government of the Central African Republic to work collaboratively with the Kimberley Process Monitoring Team, to ensure the traceability of rough diamond shipments from compliant zones.
Since its creation in 2003, the Kimberley Process has made a real difference. But more needs to be done. The sense of urgency remains.
The EU believes strongly that the Process must continue to evolve, so that it remains fit for purpose also in the future.
If we are faithful to the spirit of the Kimberley Process, we must act on these challenges. And we must do so now.
That is why in 2018 the European Union made the review and reform process of the Kimberley Process the centre piece of its Chairmanship, assuming the role of honest broker in moving the third review and reform cycle forward. That is also why the European Union launched the debate on the scope of the Kimberley Process.
This debate must reach a positive conclusion in 2019.
To make this happen, the EU will contribute actively and constructively to the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on Review and Reform, now under the Chairmanship and Vice-Chairmanship of Angola and Canada, and will work closely with India, the 2019 KP Chair, and with the Russian Federation, as 2019 KP Vice-Chair.
The Kimberley Process stands out as an example of the positive change the international community can bring about when we work together towards a common objective. It stands out as a practical example of rules-based multilateralism that has had a real impact on the lives of men and women, of girls and boys, of communities across the globe.
The European Union will continue to strive for the Kimberley Process to carry on fulfilling its role as a unique tool for conflict prevention, as a catalyst for good governance and transparency in natural resources management, as an instrument for development, for peace-building and sustaining peace.
The EU looks forward to working closely and constructively with India as the 2019 Kimberley Process Chair, with the Russian Federation as Vice-Chair, and with all Participants and Observers to ensure that a reinforced Kimberley Process can face up to new challenges, prevent conflict and create opportunities for a better life and for a better world.
If we work together, we can and we will deliver.
Thank you, Madam President.