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Kimberley Process (Zimbabwe Diamonds)

Volume 534: debated on Thursday 3 November 2011

On 1 November the Kimberley Process (KP) plenary meeting in Kinshasa reached an agreement to ensure credible and effective safeguards and monitoring of the diamond mines in the Marange region of Zimbabwe. A copy of the agreement has been placed in the Library of the House.

Following almost a year of intensive discussions amongst KP participants, a robust but fair agreement has been reached which only allows exports from mining sites in the Marange region deemed to be compliant with KP standards. Exports from other mining sites can only take place once those sites are judged to be KP compliant by independent experts. This agreement establishes a credible independent monitoring mechanism, including a role for civil society and independent experts, to ensure ongoing compliance with KP standards and to prevent non-compliant Marange diamonds from being traded under the KP. The agreement also commits Zimbabwe to take action to bring all mining in Marange into compliance with the KP.

Allowing rough diamond exports only from KP-compliant mines in Marange ensures that the credibility of the KP is maintained and guards against the risk of non-compliant mines exporting to international markets because of the lack of any agreement. In addition it means that there is some transparency of revenue flows. This will help the Zimbabwean Finance Ministry to collect tax and royalties owed to it, and thereby ensure the financial benefits of the diamond sales can reach the Zimbabwean people.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and respond appropriately to any future developments. As the agreement makes clear, the KP will constantly review progress towards KP compliance in the Marange region. We urge Zimbabwe to make every effort to overcome the outstanding shortcomings so that next year the KP plenary will be in a position to declare Marange fully compliant with KP minimum standards. If this is not the case, the KP plenary will have to discuss whether to renew the present agreement or alternatively what other measures are appropriate to address any remaining obstacles.

The Kimberley Process remains an important conflict prevention mechanism. This agreement upholds the credibility of the KP and signals the determination of all Kimberley Process participants, including Zimbabwe, to work together to uphold Kimberley Process principles and standards in the future.