The UAE Ministry of Economy has officially appointed Ahmed Bin Sulayem as the UAE’s Chair of the Kimberley Process (KP) for 2016. Present at the official handover in Dubai was Angola’s Bernardo Campos, the former Chair of the Kimberley Process.
The KP officially appointed the UAE as Chair in November 2015. The UAE will lead the UN-mandated organisation, set up in 2003, that now has 54 participants representing 81 countries. Ahmed Bin Sulayem will be officially responsible for chairing the KP in 2016, carrying out official duties and implementing new initiatives in-line with the organisation’s aims and objectives.
Commenting on his appointment, Ahmed Bin Sulayem said, “It is a great honour to have been appointed Kimberley Process Chair by both the KP and the UAE, with the great responsibility to implement the KP’s vision and plans for the diamond industry in 2016. The UAE will use this opportunity to focus on areas that will have the greatest impact on growth and development, in addition to sustaining the core values of the organisation.”
Ahmed Bin Sulayem went on to outline the objectives for the coming year. As KP Chair, he aims to strengthen the ties between government, industry decision makers and with the KP’s civil society, which includes representatives from key non-governmental organisations. He also expressed his goal to assist newly admitted countries, along with those that seek to join the KP, with technical assistance, training and consensus building through seminars and conferences.
The KP, set up to prevent conflict diamonds from entering the global supply chain, came into force in 2003. The UAE’s Ministry of Economy ensured the UAE became a member of the KP in the same year, becoming the first Arab country to do so. The KP is the only tripartite representative group in the world – featuring government, industry and civil society. It has introduced and implemented a global certification scheme; it has increased compliance and transparency in the diamond market and established a system of internal controls to determine the origin of diamonds; it has recognised the issues and raised the working practices of artisanal miners; and has more or less eliminated the trade of conflict diamond from the marketplace.
His Excellency Abdullah Al Saleh, Under-Secretary of the UAE Ministry of Economy, commented: “The UAE is honoured to have been elected KP Chair by its fellow members. It was a practical and straightforward decision to appoint Ahmed Bin Sulayem as Chair. He has led Dubai’s drive to become a global commodities hub for over a decade and has a deep understanding of the diamond industry. 2016 will be a unique opportunity for all KP participants to get first-hand experience of UAE’s and Dubai’s infrastructure and trading community and we look forward to building upon the KP’s success to date as well as implementing new initiatives.”
Ahmed Bin Sulayem also highlighted that in the years since the establishment of the KP, Dubai’s diamond trade has thrived. It grew from initial trade figures of $5 million in 2003 to over $35 billion in 2014. Today, Dubai is one of the most influential rough and polished diamond trading hubs across the globe, providing a base for all forms of trade, financing and logistics.
Ahmed Bin Sulayem added, “The UAE has supported the growth of the industry since 2003. It serves the needs of producing countries and producers whilst strongly supporting the transformation of the industry from a fragmented sector to a global industry, underpinned by a significant uptick in the transparent and regulated nature of the diamond trade. Dubai has since become one of the top diamond centres in the world and we will use these learnings to provide leadership and to drive our industry forward in 2016.”
In a formal ceremony to hand over the Chairmanship to the UAE, Angola’s Bernardo Campos, who served, on behalf of Angola, as KP Chair 2015, congratulated Ahmed Bin Sulayem and voiced his support.
“It has been a great honour to represent the Kimberley Process and to work alongside the UAE,” he said. “We have a shared goal to set about consolidating the achievements of the last 12 years and strengthening the ties between all three pillars; government, industry and civil society. As I hand over the Chair today, I am confident the UAE will strengthen these ties further in 2016 as well as implement their own vision and plans. 2016 will be an important and exciting year for our industry.”