Russia is finishing its Chairmanship in the Kimberley Process (KP) in 2021. The final Plenary meeting was held from November 8 to 12 in Moscow, for the first time in a hybrid format: 54 form 56 KP Participants and all 4 Observers took part in the meeting with 116 delegates having arrived in Moscow and 390 connected online. This is an absolute record in terms of the number of Participants in the entire history of the KP plenary sessions.
The key priority of the Russian Chairmanship was the digitalization of KP Certificates. Russia initiated the digitalization process and signed its first Memorandum of Understanding on electronic KP Certificates data exchange with Belgium that accounts for more than 51% of Russian exports of rough diamonds.
In addition, within the framework of the common customs area of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), a pilot exchange of information of KP Certificates with Belarus was carried out. In the future, electronic exchange is planned to be established with other EAEU member states through supranational legislation and harmonization of internal regulatory mechanisms. In 2022, the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation plans to scale the implementation of digital information exchange projects within the KP Certification Scheme with India and the UAE as the other important trading partners for the Russian diamond industry.
As for the KP itself, a subgroup on digitalization has been created under the Working Group of Diamond Experts.
Another priority of the Russian Chairmanship was the admission of new Participants to the KP. Following the results of the Plenary meeting the State of Qatar, the Republic of Mozambique and the Kyrgyz Republic became full Participants of the KP. The latter is the only EAEU member state that has not been represented in the KP to date yet.
Russia has also ensured the adoption of the decision to conduct a KP Review Mission to the Central African Republic (CAR) in 2022. CAR is the only member state of the KP from which the export of rough diamonds is restricted. The task of such a mission should be to assess compliance with the KPCS minimum requirements of internal control mechanisms for the extraction and export of diamonds in those regions of the country from which exports are currently prohibited.
The most important document for the diamond industry was adopted at the Plenary meeting – the Declaration on supporting principles for responsible diamond sourcing as best practices" (so-called "Frame 7"). The Declaration was developed by Russia together with Botswana – KP Chair 2022, which accounts for more than 55% of global diamond production. The document contains seven principles. Among them are support for the UN Sustainable Development Goals, protection of human rights, labor rights and the environment, industry standards of self-regulation.
Based on the outcomes of Plenary discussions Russia called upon all KP Participants to hold a Ministerial meeting of KP at the end of 2022 to give a new impetus to the work of the organization. It is proposed to take place 20 years after the historic meeting in Interlaken, Switzerland, where the Core Document (KPCS) regulating the diamond trade was adopted, on the threshold of the next review cycle of KPCS, which is due to start in 2023. The Russian proposal was supported by the KP Chair in 2022 – Botswana.
As the outcome of Russia's KP Chairmanship a number of initiatives were also implemented to strengthen the Process, including updating the procedural meeting rules, improving the collection of statistical data, systematization of requirements for the admission of organizations and associations as Observers. In addition, a technical guidance was adopted as best practice the ASSURE program prompting the methods and means of ensuring the separation of the natural and synthetic diamond markets.
It was also decided that Zimbabwe will take the post of Vice-Chair of the KP in 2022 and the KP Chair in 2023.
The progress made at the Plenary meeting in Moscow will allow us to adequately present the achievements of the Russian Federation at the UN General Assembly and reflect these decisions in the next UN General Assembly Resolution "The role of diamonds in fuelling conflicts". Its adoption is scheduled for March 2022.