Report on the proceedings of the Diamonds for Development Sub-Regional Conference

This conference was convened within the framework of the Diamonds for Development initiative (D4D), which focuses on the sustainable use of revenue from mineral resources for the purposes of development.

It was organised by the Government of Liberia in partnership with UNDP Liberia and International Alert with the objective of identifying ways to ensure that the alluvial diamond sector contributes to sustainable peace and development in the Mano River Basin sub-region.

Hosted by the Government of Liberia’s Ministry for Land, Mines and Energy and held at the Ministry of Gender and Development in Monrovia, the conference was attended by 118 participants from Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, the UK and the USA. They included representatives of the governments of Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the Secretariat of the Mano River Union, the regional and international public and private sectors, civil society, local mining communities, academics and donors.

The conference was informed by a background paper produced by International Alert on the current state of diamond mining in the Mano River Basin and the potential of diamonds as a tool for peacebuilding and development. Based on a series of visits to working diamond mines, interviews with diggers, mine owners, traders, exporters, government officials and NGOs, the report provided an overview of the sub-region and detailed analysis of each country, identifying possible ways of delivering a larger part of the revenue from diamonds to the miners themselves and to the rural communities that host them, plus strategies for making artisanal mine owners more efficient and profitable and less financially dependent on the traders who buy their stones. It also suggested ways of improving cooperation and harmonising diamond policy at the regional and international level.