For the first time, the Foreign Office will have an official stand at the International Jewellery London 2003 exhibition. Foreign Office staff, together with representatives of leading NGOs (non-governmental organisations) Global Witness and ActionAid, will be promoting the Kimberley Process certification scheme. The scheme is a ground-breaking international governmental agreement that regulates the trade in rough diamonds to prevent proceeds of illegal sales supporting civil wars.
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw welcomed the opportunity to take part:
“This will give us an opportunity to show people what we are doing, together with Global Witness, ActionAid and the diamond industry, to bring about a more secure, prosperous and just environment, not just overseas but in the UK too. The Kimberley Process represents a unique international agreement to ensure that diamonds help Africa to develop, not condemn it to more violence.”
The exhibition is an excellent opportunity to raise the profile of the scheme among the retail trade and to demonstrate the importance of retailers taking strong measures to keep conflict diamonds out of the market. The Foreign Office and NGOs are highlighting the need for leadership across industry, from importers of rough diamonds right through to the High Street jewellery retailer, if consumers are to be able to have confidence in the integrity of the product.
“NGOs are extremely concerned that the diamond trade should do everything possible to counter conflict diamond trading,” said Charmian Gooch, Director of Global Witness. “We are here to see what retailers are doing to address this important issue.”