Kimberley process essay

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Academic Level. Estimated Date:. Estimated Price:. Debate is ongoing as to whether rebel groups utilize the rough diamond trade as a means to an end to sustain their military operations, or whether violent conflict surrounding the rough diamond trade fundamentally represents the underlying motives of rebel groups as they stake their claim to potential wealth. Regardless of whether it is a cause or symptom of armed conflict, the funding of rebel groups through the trade in rough diamonds funds and perpetuates armed conflict, with severe implications for the populations of affected countries.

As public awareness of the problem grew, a wide range of actors from politicians to civil society groups mobilized support and placed increased pressure on the diamond industry and governments to address the situation. Gberie has pointed to the tendency in much of the literature to overlook the contributions of African civil-society organizations in generating awareness of the conflict diamond problem through partnership with Western NGOs, and it is important to note that local NGOs in Africa played an important role in the stages leading to the Kimberley Process.

The diamond industry is represented by the World Diamond Council, which represents more than 50 diamond industry organizations. The response of governments and the diamond industry, in the face of heightened attention and concern over the problem of conflict diamonds, can be characterized as both reactive and proactive. On the one hand, the prospect of a boycott was potentially damaging to diamond-producing countries and the diamond industry alike, and therefore the Kimberley Process can be seen as response to this threat. On the other hand, the elimination of diamond-related conflict and the trade in conflict diamonds would benefit those governments and companies affected, by such conflict, and therefore their involvement was proactive in seeking a solution.

KPCS participants also agree to standards of cooperation and transparency, and agree to the accurate submission of data in order that statistics may be compiled.

A BRIEF HISTORY

Participants agree to attend annual plenary sessions, and sit on working groups that ensure the implementation of the KPCS and promote better controls for the future. In addition to decreasing the prevalence of conflict diamonds in the international diamond trade, the KPCS has allowed countries to benefit from the revenues generated by access to the legitimate diamond trade.

In recent times, the continued export of diamonds from the Marange region of Zimbabwe, despite documentation of human rights violations committed by the government to gain control of diamond production, has demonstrated weaknesses in the KPCS. Another strength of KPCS is its structure as a multi-stakeholder initiative, which has led to increased and continuing accountability in the implementation stages.

Jojarth has noted that due to the traditional secrecy that has shrouded the diamond trade, civil society plays an important role in highlighting instances of exploitation and injustice, and holding the diamond industry accountable for its practices. The multi-stakeholder dimension increases the reach of the KPCS, but this reach relies on robust self-enforcement and compliance with KPCS guidelines at the level of the state and individual company. However, while self-regulation and enforcement may be seen as a strength in some contexts, it could also be viewed as a weakness in cases where the state is weak and institutions are lacking robustness.

The working group on monitoring aims to address this concern, and it could be argued that the peer review model ensures that a degree of accountability is maintained. Partnership Africa Canada, in their capacity as an observer to the Kimberley process, havs highlighted significant flaws in the peer review system. A major criticism of the KPCS is that it is too limited in its scope. The definition of conflict diamonds subscribed to by both the UN and the KPCS defines conflict diamonds as rough diamonds that fund rebel movements, and may be used to undermine or overthrow legitimate governments.

It could also be argued that the legitimacy of a government is a grey area in some contexts, especially in situations when the government has committed human rights abuses or electoral results have been disputed or ignored. Global Witness maintains that diamond-industry standards are inadequate and do not ensure that conflict diamonds are not present at other stages of the diamond supply chain.

While this may fall beyond the scope of the KPCS, it could be argued that the Kimberley Process could do more to ensure compliance within the diamond industry, just as it holds governments accountable for their enforcement of KPCS standards through the peer review system. Tripathi has argued that this can lead to uneven standards between participants, and that disparities and weaknesses in internal controls allow conflict diamonds to become mixed up with legitimate diamonds through these weak points in the system.

While a sense of urgency was felt within the diamond industry and by those countries whose GDP is reliant on diamond exports, this urgency was not shared by those governments for whom diamonds are merely a luxury good. Tripathi has contrasted diamonds with essential commodities that are associated with conflict, such as oil and coltan, and argued that one of the largest challenges facing the KPCS is a lack of political will to ensure and contribute to its success. While the KPCS remains open to criticism from those who see it as being too narrowly focused or lacking robustness, the Kimberley Process as a whole provides an example of the ability of a multi-stakeholder initiative to set new industry and international standards, and to affect the dynamics of armed conflict by limiting rebel movements access to finances.

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Kimberley Process The End Of Bloody Diamonds Politics Essay

The Kimberley Process showcases the capacity of civil society to initiate and influence changes in other sectors and set new norms and standards of best practice. Collier has noted that largely due to the pressure of organizations such as Global Witness, De Beers, one of the largest diamond-mining companies, actively addressed the challenge of conflict diamonds through changing its practices, and through involvement with the World Diamond Council and the KPCS.

The Kimberley Process showcases the transformative role that multi-stakeholder collaboration can have in tackling an existing problem and crafting an effective solution that contributes to the prevention and cessation of violent conflict. The Kimberley Process also demonstrated the capacity of civil society to foster change, and the ability of industry to respond to a problem and set new standards of best practice.

In light of the strengths and weaknesses displayed through the implementation of the KPCS, a number of recommendations can be made for continued improvement, and for future initiatives that seek to address the exploitation of natural resources as a means of financing armed conflict. The Kimberley Processes multi-stakeholder approach lends a sense of legitimacy to the initiative as divergent viewpoints are incorporated into the solution.

This inter-sectoral approach has been sustained through the granting of observer status to industry and civil society groups, and the presence of critical voices in the process adds to its legitimacy.

Ethics on Film: Discussion of "Blood Diamond"

A similar multi-stakeholder approach is therefore important to future governance initiatives aimed at preventing armed conflict. The Kimberley Process is founded on a UN definition of conflict diamonds that is limited to the exploitation of the rough diamond trade by rebel movements. The expansion of this definition to include governments would widen the scope of the KPCS and allow it to address abuses by states who exploit the rough diamond trade to fund violent conflict.

An initiative such as the KPCS relies on robust implementation, and it is therefore important that adequate consequences for non-compliance are created and implemented. Accountability and transparency are essential to ensuring compliance, and should be fostered through continual monitoring and peer review. Partnership Africa Canada argue that independent third-party monitoring, along with credible sanctions, is an essential step toward ensuring the effectiveness of the KPCS.

Finally, these measures rely on political will and motivation within the industry to implement standards, monitor compliance and progress, and evaluate success. The generation of political will and motivation is a continual challenge that must be addressed through awareness-building measures that emphasize the nature of the problem, and demonstrate the consequences of inaction.


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While these points represent just a few of the lessons learned from the KPCS, they are a good starting point for future initiatives to contemplate, and have proved to be important in the case of the Kimberley Process. Crime, War, and Global Trafficking.


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Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. The Hague: T. Asser Press.

Kimberley Process - Concept in a Minute - UPSC IAS

A Diamond Curse? Civil War and a Lootable Resource. Cit , p. London: Global Witness Ltd.