Markets working to support sustainable development

The Kimberley Process

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) aims to certify that rough diamonds have not been sold to fund conflicts, i.e. that they are not ‘conflict’ or ‘blood’ diamonds. The KPCS entered into force in 2003.

The process brings together diamond exporting and importing states along with industry organisations and civil society groups.

Members of the Kimberley Process have to agree to a set of minimum requirements which enables members to certify that shipments of rough diamonds are conflict free. Members can only legally trade to other members and each international shipment of rough diamonds must be accompanied by a Kimberley Process Certificate.

Participants to the process have to ensure that they set up internal controls that can verify the origin of rough diamonds and ensure traceability. Further details are found in Section IV of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme document; however exact details and processes are left to participating members.

The diamond supply chain is often complex - diamonds pass through many organisations as they are polished, cut and traded. To aid transparency and traceability a ‘System of Warranties’ has been agreed by Kimberley Process participants. This requires each seller to make an affirmative statement on the status of the diamonds i.e. that they are non-conflict. Failure to do so can result in investigation and potential expulsion.

To verify that members are correctly implementing the process, a peer-review system is utilised. This includes reporting regularly on national diamond trading as well as international monitoring visits. 

Market coverage: 

 There are currently 54 members representing over 80 countries (the EU is counted as one member). These members account for approximately 99.8% of the world rough diamond production.

Background information: 

The Kimberley process started when Southern African diamond producing states met in Kimberly, South Africa, in May 2000 to discuss the problem of diamonds being used to fund wars and unrest. In December 2000 the UN backed a resolution to create and support a scheme that would certify diamonds as conflict free.

The Kimberley Process (KP) is chaired by a rotating member. Meetings are held annually to bring together members, trade organisations and civil society representatives to discuss. In addition there are a number of working groups – these cover different aspects of the KP and specific areas of diamond production, providing guidance and expertise.

Funding source: 

Relies on contributions from participating members. Details are not publically available.

Notable information: 

The Kimberley Process claims to have had a significant impact by reducing the number of conflict diamonds in world trade from around 15% in the 1990s to a fraction of a percent today. This is supported by the 3 year review document published in 2006. It is not clear whether this review was undertaken independently, however.

Participants are required to submit annual reports on the implementation of the Kimberley Process. These are not made public.The certification scheme lost a large amount of its integrity following Global Witness’ announcement to walk out on KP in December 2011. The human rights watchdog group stated that in recent times, the governments of Zimbabwe, Côte d'Ivoire and Venezuela have all dishonored, breached and exploited the system without bearing any consequential penalties for their infringements.