Kimberley Process: A Balanced Look at its Pros and Cons

Kimberley Process: A Balanced Look at its Pros and Cons

Kimberley Process: Pros and Cons

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), often referred to simply as the Kimberley Process, was established to combat the trade in conflict diamonds. These diamonds, also known as blood diamonds, have been used to fund armed conflicts and civil wars. While the Kimberley Process has garnered significant praise for its role in reducing the flow of conflict diamonds, it is not without its critics. In this article, we will delve into the pros and cons of the Kimberley Process, providing a comprehensive analysis of its effectiveness and areas for improvement.

Introduction to the Kimberley Process

The Kimberley Process was initiated in May 2000 by southern African diamond-producing states to prevent the flow of conflict diamonds. The scheme was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly and implemented in 2003. The process involves over 80 countries and requires member states to meet specific requirements to ensure that diamonds are conflict-free.

The Pros of the Kimberley Process

Reduction in Conflict Diamonds

One of the most significant achievements of the Kimberley Process is the reduction in the trade of conflict diamonds. Prior to its implementation, it was estimated that conflict diamonds constituted up to 15% of the global diamond trade. Today, that figure has dropped to less than 1%, thanks to the stringent regulations and monitoring systems enforced by the KPCS.

International Cooperation

The Kimberley Process has fostered a high level of international cooperation. By bringing together governments, civil societies, and the diamond industry, the KPCS has created a unified front against the illicit diamond trade. This cooperation has not only helped in reducing conflict diamonds but also in promoting transparency and accountability within the diamond industry.

Economic Benefits for Producing Countries

For many diamond-producing countries, the Kimberley Process has provided significant economic benefits. By curbing the illegal diamond trade, the KPCS has helped stabilize these countries’ economies, allowing them to derive more substantial revenues from legal diamond exports. This stability has also contributed to improved social and economic conditions in regions previously affected by conflict diamond mining.

Increased Consumer Confidence

The Kimberley Process has played a crucial role in increasing consumer confidence in diamonds. By ensuring that diamonds are conflict-free, the KPCS has reassured consumers that their purchases do not contribute to funding violence and conflict. This increased confidence has been vital in maintaining the diamond industry’s reputation and market demand.

The Cons of the Kimberley Process

Loopholes and Inefficiencies

Despite its successes, the Kimberley Process has been criticized for its loopholes and inefficiencies. Some critics argue that the KPCS’s certification system is susceptible to fraud and that conflict diamonds can still enter the legitimate market. Issues such as the lack of independent third-party oversight and the limited scope of the KPCS have been highlighted as significant weaknesses.

Exclusion of Human Rights Violations

Another major criticism is the Kimberley Process’s narrow focus. The KPCS primarily addresses the issue of conflict diamonds but does not take into account other severe human rights violations associated with diamond mining, such as child labor, forced labor, and environmental degradation. This limitation has led to calls for a more comprehensive approach that includes broader human rights and ethical considerations.

Limited Impact in Certain Regions

While the Kimberley Process has been effective in many areas, its impact has been limited in certain regions. For instance, in countries like the Central African Republic, ongoing conflicts and weak governance structures have hindered the KPCS’s effectiveness. In these regions, the presence of conflict diamonds remains a significant issue, highlighting the need for more robust and adaptable measures.

Challenges in Enforcement

Enforcing the Kimberley Process’s regulations remains a significant challenge. The KPCS relies heavily on the cooperation and honesty of member states, which can be problematic in regions with high levels of corruption and weak legal systems. Ensuring compliance and addressing violations often prove difficult, undermining the overall effectiveness of the process.

Future of the Kimberley Process

Strengthening Certification and Monitoring

To address its current shortcomings, the Kimberley Process must strengthen its certification and monitoring mechanisms. Implementing independent third-party audits and enhancing traceability systems could help close existing loopholes and ensure that conflict diamonds do not enter the legitimate market.

Expanding the Scope

Expanding the scope of the Kimberley Process to include broader human rights and ethical issues is another crucial step. By addressing concerns such as lab created diamonds environmental sustainability, and community impacts, the KPCS can become a more comprehensive and effective tool in promoting ethical diamond trade.

Enhancing International Cooperation

Continued international cooperation and engagement are vital for the Kimberley Process’s success. Strengthening partnerships between governments, the diamond industry, and civil societies can lead to more coordinated and effective efforts in combating the trade in conflict diamonds.

Adapting to New Challenges

The diamond industry is constantly evolving, and the Kimberley Process must adapt to new challenges. Issues such as synthetic diamonds and advancements in diamond traceability technology require the KPCS to remain flexible and innovative to stay relevant and effective.


The Kimberley Process has made significant strides in reducing the trade of conflict diamonds and fostering international cooperation. However, it is not without its flaws. Addressing the process’s loopholes, expanding its scope to include broader human rights issues, and enhancing enforcement mechanisms are crucial steps toward improving its effectiveness. By continuing to evolve and adapt, the Kimberley Process can remain a vital tool in promoting a more ethical and transparent diamond industry.