KP CSC urges stakeholders to create safe environment for local communities

By Eratus Ndueh The Kimberley Process Civic Society Coalition (KP CSC) urged its coalition members to prevent mineral fueled conflicts and promote better mineral resources governance for the benefit of local communities in the Kimberley Process for it to remain fit for purpose. The call was made during the closing event of the annual planning meeting of the KP CSC which held on February 2, 2024 in Yaoundé. The one week annual meeting brought together coalition members from Belgium, Botswana, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cote D'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Lesotho, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Zimbabwe to brainstorm on issues plaguing the diamond supply chain and look for reasonable ways to deal with crises relating to difficulties of implemention in specific member countries. The diamond industry is reported to be facing significant challenges which is associated with conflict, and desperation that are back at the forefront. Communities living among diamond riches fail to see and fee l any benefits. 'Coming from African countries, diamond is supposed to benefit the communities from where it is exploited, but this is not always the case. So for us, we think that the KP has become not taking care of these communities' expounded Jaff Bamendjou the new coordinator of KP CSC. The KP Civil Society Coalition has been advocating for KP reform for a long time and is concerned that the much-needed reforms will once again not get a fair chance. In this way, the KP risks undermining the foundations of the industry it claims to protect. 'Things have changed because couple of years ago, we were talking of conflict diamond due to the fact that non-states armed groups were using this resources to finance their wars. That is why we harness our efforts to say enough is enough by introducing the Model Diamond Framework which entails ensuring that the diamond which is exploited is free of violence, and respecting the social and economic rights of the local communities and going beyond looking how the extr action of diamond can bring local social and economic development.' The coordinator added. According to Esther Finda Kandeh, the founder and director for women on mining and extractives, women have not been left out of the KP CSC's fight because they ensure that these women who are part of the mining process and who go through the same ordeal with the men, should have their voices heard in the coalition for better solutions to be made. 'The first thing that we are doing is ensuring that all governance documents that concerns KP should be engender and capture the issues of women pointing the challenges they are going through in the extractive sector' said Esther Finda. She added 'In the extractive sector, women find it difficult to have a say in decision making process due to the cultural beliefs that binds them down. They are mining areas that women are not supposed to go, just because you are simply a woman and many others. So we are out to amplify their voices.' The Kimberley Process Civil Society Coali tion is an umbrella organization that acts as an observer of the Kimberley Process on behalf of civil society. Representing communities affected by diamond mining and trade, and improve diamond sector governance in their home countries. The Kimberley Process was established in 2003 and has 85 participants, including industry representatives and civil society organisations. Source: Cameroon News Agency