The United States was elected chair of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme for 2012 with South Africa as its vice raising questions that Washington might have traded the lifting of the KP ban on Marange diamonds for the chair.
The United States abstained from voting on the issue at the KP Plenary in Kinshasa but the ban was lifted since there was no objection. Decisions at the KP are by consensus.
Zimbabwe had vowed that the United States, which was vying for vice-chair this year, would not assume that post unless it revised its objection to Zimbabwe being allowed to sell its diamonds on the open market.
It was supported by two of its Southern African Development Community colleagues, South Africa and Namibia.
In a letter sent to KP chair Mathieu Yamba of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ministry of Mines legal advisor, Farai Mutamangira said: “We understand from unofficial sources that through some procedure which appears to be a written procedure the candidacy of the US as nominee for the vice-chair has been put to vote. Should this be correct we write to advise that Zimbabwe objects to the vice-chairmanship of the USA strongly. This position will continue to subsist and may only be considered depending on progress on the outstanding issue of the US sponsored violence clause on the Draft Administrative Decision on Zimbabwe.”
Marange diamonds can still not be sold in the US because of the trade sanctions on the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation a joint partner with Mbada and owner of Marange Resources.
Below is the full statement by the United States and South Africa on assuming the KP post:
Kimberley Process: Joint Statement from 2012 Incoming Chair, Vice Chair
U.S. and South Africa to Head Kimberley Process Certification Scheme
The United States of America and the Republic of South Africa welcome our selection as Kimberley Process chair and vice chair for 2012. We are humbled by the trust of the Kimberley Process members in accepting us into this leadership position at such a crucial time in the history of the Kimberley Process. We would also like to express our gratitude to the current chair, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for their work this year in leading the Kimberley Process.
Our world is fast changing and mineral resources play an even greater part in our economies particularly for producers. The Kimberley Process serves a number of important and valuable functions including increased transparency and good governance in the diamond trade, prevention of the diversion of diamond revenues by rebel groups, i.e. conflict diamonds, and enhanced development outcomes for communities involved in artisanal diamond mining. In recent years, however, the Kimberley Process has faced a number of significant challenges. Our governments recognize these challenges and indeed have sought these leadership positions to work together to advance the important achievements and goals of the Kimberley Process.
We view 2012 as a year for collaboration and careful deliberation on the state of the Kimberley Process and look forward to strengthening the Kimberley Process’s credibility and effectiveness. Although we intend to work on a number of areas we intend to focus on several key issues. Notably, the absence of civil society from the Kinshasa plenary has left the Kimberley Process without one of its founding partners.
It is our mutual goal and commitment to implement reforms sufficient to take Kimberley Process forward. We recognize the importance of the tri-partite structures of Kimberley Process, as all the parties have a pivotal role to play. We would like to encourage the return of civil society, so that all participants and observers can continue to work together cooperatively in the Kimberley Process in line with the rules and procedures. This will strengthen the effectiveness and credibility of the Kimberley Process.
To help reach this goal, we intend to continue to working jointly with all participants and observers in the Kimberley Process, as well as to engage with other stakeholders, to provide leadership to focus on reforms in the following critical areas:
-Mandate efficacy: We should ensure that, as the Kimberley Process nears its tenth year anniversary, the original mandate continues to maintain relevance in the international community and intend to foster the Kimberley Process’s evaluation of whether changes to this mandate are needed.
-Administrative staff office: We should ensure meaningful and thorough discussion of a 2010 plenary decision concerning reform and the work of the ad hoc committee chaired by Botswana to evaluate the possibilities of a permanent staffing solution.
-Enforcement: Our commitment during our term will be to promote the culture of compliance with rules and procedures. We intend to encourage Kimberley Process participants to address both external and internal vulnerabilities within their monitoring and enforcement systems.
-Kimberley Process Reform: We intend to fast-track the review of Kimberley Process and address the grey areas in our statutes and procedures, with the aim of moving forward to apply Kimberley Process standards, rules and procedures consistently amongst all participants.
-Governance: Governance will also be a key area of focus. In this regard, our focus will be to promote effective governance within the Kimberley Process.
-Development and technical assistance: We intend to facilitate meaningful engagement in, and support for, development related to artisanal and small scale mining to those participants who indicate the need for such.
It is our joint commitment to provide leadership for the goals of the committee on Kimberley Process reform and to ensure that a clear, concrete, and consensus-based decision on each of these issues is presented to plenary 2012 for adoption, enabling progress to begin and be presented to mark the Kimberley Process’s 10-year anniversary during plenary 2013.
We are pleased to embark upon this upcoming year in the spirit of collaboration and cooperation, while we jointly ensure the respect of the participants’ sovereignty at all times. We ask that all participants and observers work with us to reach these common goals of upholding and strengthening the integrity and value of the Kimberley Process.