What Is The Kimberley Process ?

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The Kimberley process was named for its development in Kimberley, Africa as a response to the blood diamond trafficking that was being done by Angola and Sierra Leone to fund their rebellions.

In 1998, when the blood diamond world and all its horrors were being exposed to the world, the international diamond community wanted to find a solution to these stones being readily available on the legitimate diamond markets. The United Nations put up the topic for public debate in an effort to find a solution to this growing problem.

In 2000, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme was brought up and voted on in The United Nations General Assembly based on the 'Fowler Report' that was written up that year. The process agreed upon based on Fowler's findings entails the following procedures:

1. All diamond shipments must be made via a tamper-resistant container.

2. All diamonds shipments must be accompanied by a government that is validated with a Kimberley Process Certificate.

3. All Kimberley Certificates must be inspected to make sure they are not forged. They each have their own serial number and a description of the shipments contents.

4. All diamond shipments must be made to other countries that are Kimberley Certified as well.

If any of these procedures are not applied to the shipments then this could lead to a removal of the non-complying country from the Kimberley approved list. If there are any suspicions that arise during the country's adherence to the scheme they may be subject to investigation by the World Trade Organization.

These procedures were put into action in 2003 and on January 1st, 2003 Israel became the first country to be issued a certificate, additionally the World Diamond Council put a warranty system in place. This means that all KPCS countries must include the following statement in all diamond shipments rough or polished:

"The diamonds herein invoiced have been purchased from legitimate sources not involved in funding conflict and in compliance with United Nations resolutions. The seller hereby guarantees that these diamonds are conflict free, based on personal knowledge and/or written guarantees provided by the supplier of these diamonds.”

The guidelines for self-regulation that countries who are part of the KPCS have adapted to are as follows:

• A KPCS member will only trade with companies that include the warranty declaration on their invoices.

• A KPCS member will not purchase diamonds that come from unknown suppliers, or have originated in non affiliated Kimberley Process countries.

• A KPCS member will not purchase diamonds that after legal due process the government has violated its regulations that restrict the trade of conflict diamonds.

• A KPCS member will not knowingly assist in the buying or selling or buy or sell conflict diamonds.

• A KPCS member will ensure that all employees in diamond trade companies are well informed about the trade resolutions and government regulations which restrict trade in conflict diamonds.

If there is failure to comply to any of these regulations the country is subject to expulsion from Kimberley and other diamond trade organizations. These rules and regulations have been the basis for legal diamond trading since 2003. The goal of the Kimberley Process is to make blood diamond trading obsolete and legally impossible.