At the latest meeting of the Kimberley Process, which took place in Namibia on Thursday, November 5, 2009, Israel was elected to assume the Chairmanship from 2010. Boaz Hirsch, Deputy Director General for Foreign Trade at Israel’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, will officially serve as Chair.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor Benjamin Ben-Eliezer welcomed Israel’s appointment as chairman of the Kimberley Process in 2010. “Israel is proud to head the Kimberley Process, which improves the rights and lives of millions of people,” he said. He added that the Israeli Diamond Industry is a major contributor to Israel’s economy. “Israel’s assuming the Chairmanship of the Kimberley Process attests to the central role that the Israeli Diamond Industry plays in the international diamond trade,” he said.
Hirsch said that the role is one of great responsibility which affects the lives of millions of people who depend on the diamond industry for their livelihood, and dozens of countries which rely on the diamond industry for their economic development. He said that he saw Israel’s role as chair to be “in creating the momentum to improve the process and to suit it to the new challenges it faces.”
Israel Diamond Controller and head of the Kimberley Process in Israel, Shmuel Mordechai, said that as head of the Kimberley Process Israel will contribute to improving and developing the system first introduced in 2003. According to Mordechai “Israel will push for the creation of an arbitration committee to settle differences of interpretation pertaining to Kimberley Process decisions, thus allowing the diamond regulation process to address issues as they arise.”
Mordechai added that Israel was one of the founders of the Kimberley Process and has been a major factor in its development. Israel was the first country to issue a Kimberley Process Certificate in 2003. “As one of the world’s leading diamond centers it is natural that Israel should lead this process now,” he said.
The Kimberley Process was established in 2003 after a three-year debate by a forum of diamond producing and trading nations. The system successfully enables the regulation of rough diamond transactions in order to prevent trade in conflict diamonds, or the use of profits from conflict diamond sales in the funding of resistance groups, arms trade, or the abuse of human and civil rights in countries which produce rough diamonds. Within a short span of seven years, the Kimberley Process has been able to minimize conflict diamond trade from to accounting for only 1% of rough diamond trade.