UAE assumes chairmanship of the UN Kimberly Process for 2024

The UN initiative aims at preventing conflict diamonds from entering the mainstream rough diamond market

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A Staff Reporter

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Constellation, the diamond was discovered by The Lucara Diamond Corporation at their Karowe Mine in Botswana, an environmental and Social responsibility award winning mine. Photo by Shihab
Constellation, the diamond was discovered by The Lucara Diamond Corporation at their Karowe Mine in Botswana, an environmental and Social responsibility award winning mine. Photo by Shihab

Published: Wed 15 Nov 2023, 1:31 PM

Last updated: Wed 15 Nov 2023, 11:23 PM

The UAE has officially assumed the chairmanship of the Kimberley Process (KP), a vital United Nations (UN) initiative aimed at preventing conflict diamonds from entering the mainstream rough diamond market. Ahmed Bin Sulayem, the Executive Chairman and CEO of the Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre (DMCC), is now serving as the Chair of the Kimberley Process for the second time, following the UAE's previous chairmanship in 2016.

In 2024, Ahmed Bin Sulayem will lead the KP and its representation of 85 countries through a 'Year of Delivery.' This period will witness the realisation of several crucial initiatives and workstreams.

These include the full operationalisation of the permanent secretariat in Botswana, initially proposed by the UAE in 2016, the completion of the review and reform cycle led by Angola, and the supervision of the future-proofing of the KP and its operational structure. This involves the transformation of the existing paper-based KP certificates onto the blockchain, aiming to eliminate forgery and counterfeits.

During the 2023 plenary session hosted by the outgoing chair, Zimbabwe, Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, DMCC, said: “Our work in the Kimberley Process holds greater significance than ever before. It affects millions of stakeholders, and it is our collective responsibility to contribute to the stability and prosperity of the economies that depend on us year after year. As such, my focus as KP Chair will be very clear: to solidify the KP’s ability to operate autonomously and with greater efficiency. I look forward to leading the Kimberley Process into a new era of action – a year of delivery.”

Commenting on the outcome of the Plenary in Zimbabwe, which concluded without a complete communique, Bin Sulayem remarked: “Geopolitical gridlocks cannot be allowed to impede the crucial work of the Kimberley Process. While industry and civil society members are eager to progress, certain governments persist in using the forum to obstruct vital decisions. This ultimately has a negative impact on Africa and the millions of people who depend on it.” He added: “Our collaborative efforts with all the members of KP will commence immediately as we strive to swiftly translate intentions into action, making 2024 a pivotal year. It is our shared responsibility to fulfil the promises of the KP. We owe it to Africa.”

The UAE and DMCC have a deep history with the KP, as the UAE was the first Arab country to join the initiative in 2003. In 2019, the UAE’s KP office was the first in the world to be ISO certified.

The UAE is the largest importer and exporter of diamonds with KP certificates and issues the second highest number of KP certificates globally through its two offices in DMCC’s business district and at Dubai International Airport.

The UAE’s chairmanship of the KP adds further weight to the country’s diamond industry acumen. Led by trade through Dubai and the Dubai Diamond Exchange, the UAE became the largest rough diamond trading hub in the world in 2021 and is fast approaching the top spot for polished diamonds as well. In 2022, the UAE’s total rough and polished diamond trade rose 17% year-on-year to $37.4 billion.

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