Tuesday, March 27, 2012

UN-affiliated Antwerp ITCCO to conduct high-level seminar in Vicenza to consider KP compliance training and ethical jewelry certification

ANTWERP, BELGIUM: MARCH 21, 2012 -The Antwerp ITCCO (International Training Center for Corporate Opportunities) will conduct a high-level seminar in Vicenza, Italy, on May 15, where representatives of the United Nations, the European Community, national governments and the Kimberley Process, as well as leaders from the diamond and jewelry industries, will consider the strengthening of the Kimberley Process through training and capacity development, and the establishment of systems designed to enable the monitoring, certification and labeling of ethical jewelry.

Among the officials who have indicated that will serve as seminar panel members are the Kimberley Chair, Ambassador Gillian A. Milovanovic, and Carlos Lopes, UN Assistant Secretary-General and the Executive Director of the United Nations Institute for Training and Development (UNITAR).

The seminar is being held as part of the World Jewelry Forum, which is being hosted by the Fiera di Vicenza from May 13 to May 23. It will take place a day after the close of the 8th Annual Meeting of the World Diamond Council, and two days before the start of the 2012 CIBJO Congress on May 17.

The seminar will include two sessions. The first will focus on the creation of properly structured training and capacity development programs to support Kimberley Process compliance. These programs should comprise of proper Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices and aim to support the development-goals and objectives of the United Nations and the UN Global Compact.

The second session will look at the development of systems to monitor CSR in the distribution chain with the eventual goal of being able to certify and label jewelry that is manufactured and traded in an ethical manner. Participants will consider the options available for reviewing and tracking ethics and sustainability performance in the jewelry sector, including those based on existing international principles, guidelines and standards.

"The presence in Vicenza of so many figures involved in the leadership of the Kimberley Process and the jewelry and diamond sectors provides us with a special opportunity to look at the role of the industry in promoting CSR, and by so doing advancing the development goals of the United Nations," said Mr. Lopes. "Our goal in conducting this seminar is to consider the challenges and opportunities, and to chart a path for moving forward together by sharing knowledge and practices."

"In the years since the launch of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme we have been increasingly aware that the effectiveness of the system is not only a factor of the regulatory systems that are put in place by the member countries, but also of the way in which KPSC is understood and implemented at the grass roots level thoughout the chain of distribution," said Eli Izhakoff, President of the World Diamond Council. "Education is a critical component of the venture, and it is that which we will focus upon in Vicenza."

"The ITCCO seminar will emphasize the duality of CSR and sustainability in the greater jewelry sector," said Gaetano Cavalieri, President of CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation. "It will examine how, through proper responsible and ethical business practices, we will not only defend the reputation of our products and our industry, but we will also provide proper economic opportunity to and improve the wellbeing of all our stakeholders, from the mines to the consumer markets."

Antwerp ITTCO was established in 2011 by UNITAR, in cooperation with the UN Global Compact, CIBJO, the Region of Flanders, the City of Antwerp, AWDC and the Belgium Diamond Trust Funds. UNITAR is an autonomous body within the United Nations, whose mission is to enhance the effectiveness of the UN through appropriate training and research on issues such as peace and security, social and economic development and the environment.

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