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National statements

The Role of Diamonds in Fuelling Conflict

Thematic issues

  • Central Africa
  • Central African Republic
  • Côte d'Ivoire
  • Guinea
  • Human Rights
  • Liberia
  • Natural Resources
  • Sierra Leone
  • West Africa

UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Statement by Mr Peter Scott, Counsellor, Australian Mission to the
United Nations

Thank you Mr President,

Australia warmly thanks the People's Republic of China for its leadership as Chair of the Kimberley Process in 2014; and we are pleased to co-sponsor the resolution they are putting forward today.

We also congratulate Angola as it takes the Chair of the Kimberley Process in 2015.

Australia has long been a strong supporter of the Kimberley Process and has actively contributed to the important work of its Working Groups on Monitoring and Diamond Experts and its Committee on Participation and Chairmanship, as well as on other related issues, such as statistics and internet trading.

The Kimberley Process has been phenomenally successful in achieving its principal
objective: uncertified diamonds now represent less than one per cent of world
trade. As a member of the Security Council, Australia has supported the Council's
ongoing engagement with the Kimberley Process on a number of situations on the
Council's agenda. This cooperation is a critical element in the Council's support
for Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire and the Central African Republic.

The Kimberley Process has also brought valuable transparency to the diamond trade through its statistics function, and it has acted as a facilitator for sharing best practices in broader mining and governance practices.

Australia is a major diamond producer – currently the world's sixth largest by both volume and value – with strong expertise in mining and a proud record of sharing this expertise.

Through our development partnerships, in particular our Australia-Africa Partnership Facility, we have worked to assist countries harness the wealth from their natural resources. We are also proud supporters of the Africa Minerals Development Centre.

Our partnerships have provided training on a wide range of important topics for the diamond industry, including: beneficiation, artisanal production, cadastral systems and mining regulation, to name a few.

The Kimberley Process should continue to create opportunities for sharing best
practices. Certainly the appetite is there, as can be seen in the commitment
by the Mano River countries for the West Africa harmonisation project, which
is developing and sharing best practices in Kimberley Process compliance in
Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Australia was pleased to support
this Project.

It was also evident in the great interest and enthusiasm for the study tour Australia hosted for participants from Africa and Asia in September this year, which contributed to building a new cadre of people from a broader range of diamond-producing countries to undertake review visits. The participants also expanded their knowledge of mining best practices, which can both be used in their own countries and shared with others. The study tour group is also developing guidance materials which can be used as tools for future Review Visit teams.

For this reason, we support Angola's focus on implementing the Moscow and Washington declarations, through facilitating knowledge sharing between peers and opportunities for training. We also applaud the World Diamond Council's initiative for training for new officials, which is long overdue. Australia will work collaboratively with all parties to bring this initiative to fruition.

We also welcome Angola's focus on the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights. Australia is a member of this initiative, given the importance of assisting mining companies and governments to prevent mine-site conflict and the ensuing human and economic costs.

Civil society continues to be critical to the operational effectiveness and international legitimacy of the Kimberley Process. The civil society coalition has done much to support best practices in mining and we encourage them to continue this positive work. They are also our early warning system. In an industry that is so reliant on the reputation of our product, we are wise to seriously consider any issues brought to our attention.

Australia believes we can build on the strengths in the Kimberley Process, and this underpins our decision to nominate to be Vice Chair of the Kimberley Process for 2015 and Chair in 2016.

But regardless of our role, we look forward to working together to improve our systems and get the best out of the diamond industry. This in turn will safeguard the reputation of the diamond industry, thus ensuring that diamonds are a source of wealth and progress for the people, communities and countries that mine, trade, polish and enjoy them.

Thank you Mr President

Last Updated: 17 June 2015
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