Seventy-eighth Session,
65th Meeting (AM)

General Assembly Adopts Resolution on Role of Diamonds in Fuelling Conflict, amid Concerns Certain States Might Block Updates to Text

Organ also Takes Up Appointment of Board Members on Sustainable Consumption, Production Patterns

The General Assembly today adopted a resolution on the role of diamonds in fuelling conflict, amid concerns over certain States’ efforts to block updates to the text.

By terms of the resolution titled “The role of diamonds in fuelling conflict:  breaking the link between the illicit transaction of rough diamonds and armed conflict as a contribution to prevention and settlement of conflicts” (document A/78/L.54), which it adopted without a vote, the Assembly recognized that the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme helps to ensure the effective implementation of relevant resolutions of the Security Council containing sanctions on the trade in conflict diamonds, and called for the full implementation of existing Council measures to this end.

By other terms, it also recognized the important contributions made to the settlement of conflicts and the consolidation of peace by international efforts to address the problem of conflict diamonds, including the Kimberley Process.  Also by the text, the Assembly requested the Chair of the Kimberley Process to submit a report on the implementation of the Process to the General Assembly at its seventy-ninth session.

The representative of Zimbabwe, introducing the draft resolution as well as the report on his country’s tenure as Chair of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) in 2023, noted that, due to visa problems, the outgoing Chair, Winston Chitando, and Zimbabwe’s Minister for Mines and Mining Development, Zhemu Soda, were unable to attend the meeting.  Underlining the continued relevance of the Scheme in ensuring that diamonds remain a force for inclusive sustainable development instead of a driver of armed conflict, he shared statistics related to the production, imports, exports and Kimberley Process (KP) certificates in 2022, published by the Kimberley Process Working Group on Statistics on 25 January 2024.  In 2022, there was a total production of 121,470,715.36 diamond carats, with a production value of $16,284,771,441.94, he said, adding that, during that year, “a total of 45,648 KP importation certificates were issued, as well as 46,089 exportation certificates, which clearly shows that the mechanism is working”.

Recalling his country’s election as Chair of the Scheme in Botswana in 2022, taking over from that country, he went on to outline activities undertaken in 2023, including the hosting of two statutory meetings of the Kimberley Process and the completion of the work of all working groups and committees.  Spotlighting the organization by his country of the “Special Forum on the Declaration on Supporting Principles of Responsible Diamond Sourcing”, held during the plenary meeting in Victoria Falls, he highlighted Zimbabwe’s efforts to ensure responsible sourcing, through the launch and implementation of the responsible mining audit, as well as the decision to establish a permanent secretariat in Gaborone, Botswana.  However, he pointed out that no consensus communiqué was adopted during the plenary, as participants agreed on 98 out of 99 recommendations.

An observer for the European Union, noting that the bloc joined consensus on the draft, pointed out that it had, since 2003, funded almost €10 million in projects aimed to reinforce governance in the diamond sector and the development of alternative livelihoods. In this context, he highlighted its contributions to the Mano River Union, which supported cooperation among Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, as well as in the Central African Republic.  The plenary had, for the first time in its history, failed to produce a consensus communiqué, he said, condemning the aggression of one Kimberley Process participant against another.  Underscoring the need to seize the opportunity of the review and reform cycle to broaden the definition of “conflict diamonds” to capture the evolving nature of conflicts and the realities on the ground, he made a plea to participants to engage in an open dialogue to this end.

Meanwhile, the delegate of the United Arab Emirates noted that the Kimberley Process had, over the past two decades, shown that significant inroads could be achieved when stakeholders from across Government, the private sector and civil society work together, while also contributing to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  Stressing the importance of strengthening the Kimberley Process framework, he outlined three objectives for delivery in 2024 by his country as current Chair of the Kimberley Process.  These were the establishment of a permanent secretariat of the Process in Gabarone, approved through written procedure in March; ensuring the completion, by year-end, of the Process’ reviews and reform cycle; and identifying opportunities to strengthen the process through digital technologies.  He also highlighted two events to be held during this year in Dubai:  the intersessional in May and the plenary session in November.

For his part, the representative of the Russian Federation assailed Western countries’ sabotaging of international cooperation in the global diamond sector to serve their own geopolitical interests, pointing out that they had compromised the achievements of sovereign States by exerting pressure on them for the third year in a row.  The adoption of a final communiqué was deliberately sabotaged by Western countries, he said, adding that the present text was merely technical in nature due to the “irresponsibly and openly incompetent” actions of the Group of Seven countries in the European Union, which aimed to engineer a hold over global production with all the finesse of a bull in a china shop.  The prospects for sustainable development were therefore gloomy, he said, adding that such actions only hampered the fight against the spread of conflict diamonds.  He called on all “constructive-minded countries” to ensure that Western countries refrained from the politicization of the topic for their own benefit.

Botswana’s delegate stated that approximately 99.8 per cent of the global production of rough diamonds is conflict-free, due to the “relentless efforts” of the Kimberley Process, a tripartite body consisting of Governments, civil society and industry, adding:  “In this regard, the Kimberley Process plays a key role in the promotion of international peace and security.”  The members of the Kimberley Process remain committed towards enhancing its effectiveness, relevance and fitness-for-purpose, he said, recalling that his country is a founding member of the Process and the world’s leading producer of diamonds by value.

The representative of United Republic of Tanzania pointed to the strong correlation between insecurity and illegal mining and trafficking, especially in diamonds, highlighted by Ghada Fathi Waly, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).  Voicing worry that the exploitation of natural resources was fuelling a vicious cycle of conflict, he pointed out that the Fragile States Index had found the African continent to be most affected by conflicts.  As a mineral-producing country, his delegation co-sponsored the draft and would vote in its favour, as it constituted a necessary conflict-prevention measure, he added.

Following the unanimous adoption of the resolution, the representative of the United Kingdom spoke in explanation of vote, noting his country’s active participation in the Process, including in its various working groups.  However, he voiced disappointment over the inability to have a substantive discussion on the link between the Russian Federation’s rough diamond revenue and its illegal invasion of Ukraine.  Adding a factual reference to the matter had been blocked, resulting in the failure to adopt a communiqué in 2023, he added, reiterating the need for a substantive discussion on the issue, which remained relevant to the mechanism.

In a similar vein, the delegate of the United States underscored the importance of the Kimberley Process evolving to new challenges facing the rough diamonds supply chain, without which it would lose relevance.  Therefore, she urged the participants of the Kimberley Process to work towards reform to further break the link between conflict and diamonds.

In other business, the Assembly dealt with the appointment of members of the Board of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns.  In that context, it took note of the nomination of Barbados, while recalling that two vacancies from the Asia-Pacific States and one vacancy each from the Eastern European States and Latin American and Caribbean States remained to be filled for a term of office beginning on the date of appointment and ending on 20 March 2026.

For information media. Not an official record.