DUBAI – The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has formally started its chairmanship of the Kimberley Process (KP), a critical United Nations initiative to prevent conflict diamonds from entering the mainstream rough diamond market.
Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman and CEO of DMCC, has assumed the role of Chair of the Kimberley Process for a second time following UAE’s chairmanship in 2016.
Ahmed Bin Sulayem
Throughout 2024, Ahmed Bin Sulayem will guide the KP and the 85 countries represented through a ‘Year of Delivery’, seeing a number of crucial initiatives and workstreams through to fruition. This includes the permanent secretariat, which was initially proposed by the UAE in 2016, becoming fully operational in Botswana; the completion of the review and reform cycle, led by Angola; and overseeing the future-proofing of the KP and its operational structure, including transforming the existing paper-based KP certificates onto the blockchain 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 said: “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: “Hence, 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, meeting the extensive and stringent criteria of the internationally recognised ISO standard. 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 reach USD 37.4 billion.