The Participants in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) met in Johannesburg, South Africa from 28 to 30 April 2003, to deliberate on matters pertaining to the implementation of the KPCS, which started on 1 January 2003. Fifty-one (51) states and one Regional Economic Integration Organisation, the European Community, are currently participating in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. Attending the Plenary meeting as Observers to the KPCS, were six non-participating states and representatives from the World Diamond Council and civil society. The Participants and Observers expressed their gratitude to the Kimberley Process Chair, South Africa, for hosting the meeting and for the warm hospitality they had enjoyed.

Participants welcomed the resolutions adopted respectively by the United Nations Security Council in January, and by the United Nations General Assembly in April 2003, which expressed strong support for the KPCS. Several implementation issues were identified and referred to working groups for discussion.

In recognition of the difficulties experienced by various Participants in implementing the KPCS, Participants adopted an administrative decision on a final extension of the period of tolerance in terms of which the list of Participants will be confirmed . Relevant documentation submitted by 31 May will be assessed by the Chair who, having issued an updated list by 5 May, will issue a revised list by 10 June 2003. On the basis of the documentation submitted, the newly-created Participation Committee will make a recommendation thereon to the Chair on whether this list should be finally confirmed, at the latest by 31 July 2003.

The working group on Rules of Procedure produced a detailed draft text setting out rules for meetings of the Plenary and its subordinate bodies. With the exception of one issue relating to Decision Making, this text was adopted ad referendum by Plenary. Further consultations are required to resolve the final point. The group’s separate draft statement setting up a written procedure for decision-making out of sessions was also agreed.

The working group on Monitoring and Control compiled terms of reference for the Participation Committee, which were adopted by Plenary. The guideline document for the peer review mechanism will be discussed further electronically with members of the working group, circulated to Participants and subsequently tabled at the next Plenary meeting.

The working group on Statistics prepared a series of detailed recommendations that will permit the initiation of the collection of statistics describing international trade in rough diamonds for the first quarter of 2003. These recommendations were adopted by the Plenary. In addition, a detailed terms of reference document to guide the activities of the working group was adopted. This working group will continue to collaborate in order to plan and implement the overall statistics collection and analysis strategy for the Kimberley Process and to address operational and conceptual issues that arise.

The working group on Diamond Experts discussed ways and means of improving the manner in which the national certification schemes of Participants interact. It also identified areas where the working group will have to discuss and submit detailed proposals in advance of the next Plenary meeting. The working group submitted a text to the Plenary containing terms of reference, to guide current and future activities of the working group, and several guidelines that were subsequently amended and adopted by the Plenary.

The Plenary considered the status of implementation of the KPCS by the Central African Republic since the events related to the change of Government on 15 March 2003 and, at the invitation of the authorities, decided to send a review mission to that country. The terms of reference of the review mission were agreed. The review mission will take place not later than 16 June 2003, and will consist of a committee of five, three Participants and two Observers. Based on the report of the review mission, the Chair will present a proposal on the status of the Central African Republic in the KPCS to the Participants in compliance with Section VI, 15.

The Plenary also considered the Republic of Liberia’s indication that it would like to become a Participant in the KPCS. In view of the existing United Nations Security Council embargo against trade in diamonds with Liberia, an application to become a Participant may only be considered once the diamond trade embargo has been lifted. The Liberian Government has invited the Kimberley Process to send a review mission to Liberia as soon as possible.

The Plenary also considered the way forward for the KPCS and agreed that another Plenary meeting in October 2003, would be necessary to attend to implementation issues. This meeting will be hosted by the Chair. Each Participant would re-double their efforts to achieve optimal implementation results.