Botswana’s Minister of Mineral Resources, Lefoko Moagi, says the meeting in the resort town of Kasane needs to candidly discuss issues affecting the diamond industry.
He says those include the Kimberley Process, a system that monitors the sale of “conflict diamonds” — diamonds used to fund armed groups and wars.
“I am hopeful that this inter-sessional meeting will implore you to delve into the rough diamonds related matters, engage and discuss even the most uncomfortable Kimberley Process issues with the sole objective of ensuring that the Kimberley Process remains fit for purpose in these evolving times, whilst maintaining the original mandate of this entity as espoused in the United Nations general resolution.”
Abu Brima is a member of the Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition, a group which monitors the diamond body.
He tells VOA the Kimberley Process is losing its relevance and the Coalition made its position known at the meeting.
“All the principles, all the procedures will have to be revised, especially to create a proper agenda for reform, to reform those aspects that make KP an impediment to achieve its own agenda. The whole question of conflict diamonds will have to be opened up and broadened.”
Russia would have been on the agenda at the Botswana meeting only if there was a consensus from all the 85 participating countries.
But Brima says such an arrangement no longer serves its purpose and needs to be revisited.
“The consensus decision making process would veto power by any individual country that is not comfortable with any decision. That does not help KP to move forward. That needs to be changed.”
Despite the criticism, Minister Moagi says the Kimberley Process remains relevant to the global diamond trade.
“Through the KP, in spite of challenges and shortcomings, we continue to give our many stakeholders reasonable assurance that as an industry, we value peace and security. Moreover, we equally recognize the need to ensure that the rough diamond trade optimally contributes to sustainable development.”
Russia’s continued trade in the stones has come under global scrutiny with concerns diamond revenue could be funding the invasion of Ukraine.