Very Fair Trade Diamonds or Globalization?

This truly uplifting 28 minute documentary on Diamonds Development and Property Rights serves to refresh and restore our confidence in the fact that society still cares enough about the future and livelihood of indigenous peoples, to make real and lasting changes.
It is gratifying to know that USAID was established to assist in economic growth, agriculture, trade, health, democracy, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance. Government guilt or God’s will, USAID is in an attempt to balance the destructive globalization policies that served only to rape and pillage the meek and the poor.
The USA has lost its sovereignty, given away our jobs, our manufacturing industry, our communities, our wealth and our towns to a false economy based on the special interests groups of large corporations.
What we have overlooked, is that in its current form, the law actually inhibits executives and corporations from being socially responsible and we the people, are starting to pay the price. Our country is based on false energy prices, which have created a false economy based on unrealistic and imprisoning credit which we spend on dis-empowering companies such as Walmart that helped to bankrupt our local stores which sold locally grown produce and goods, in so doing, proving work to the inhabitants of local communities.
It’s time to focus on our communities and take back our sovereignty. Jean Jacques Rousseau described sovereignty as the general will in action, which resides in the community as a whole, and not through elected representatives. Participatory decentralized development helps build national sovereignty by empowering local communities to manage their own development. National governments that attempt to resist such internal movements will suffer, as the external forces of globalization challenge and redefine the precise role of national governments, thereby destabilizing their own standing.
Many inhabitants of Africa’s diamond-producing regions are artisanal miners, but for a large majority, mining remains a subsistence activity, marked by tenuous rights over land, rudimentary levels of organization and technology, and weak bargaining power vis-a-vis the middlemen who dominate the diamond marketing chain. In diamond-producing countries, many Africans have shifted from agricultural production to alluvial diamond mining, causing a marked decline in food production and household livelihood. Women have been particularly affected. African governments have put in place registration and record keeping requirements for diamond miners intended to ensure alluvial diamonds enter the chain of custody as required by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. However, without proper incentives and in the absence of clear enforcement regulations and implementation, artisinal miners have little reason to comply with such requirements.

The rural commune of Banankoro is at the heart of Guinea’s artisanal diamond-producing region. Paradoxically, it remains one of the least developed and poorest areas in the country. PRADD (Property Rights and Artisanal Diamond Development Project) conducted an in-depth review which revealed that poor design and mismanagement of fiscal mechanisms have drastically constrained the application of otherwise well intentioned policies, in so doing, depriving Banankoro and neighboring communes of substantial revenues. These mismanaged funds include the reservation of a portion of artisinal permit fees to establish a mining promotion fund and an area tax on industrial mining operations to compensate local communities for environmental damage.

PRADD will assist local government leaders and citizen groups to better understand shortcomings in the current fiscal systems, and to address such measures through constructive engagement of national government representatives on practical reform measures.

This video details the problems faced by diamond miners working with alluvial diamonds in the Central African Republic, and the challenges of affirming property rights at the grass roots level. The video briefly summarizes the 8-step process PRADD developed to translate customary rights into statutory rights. The process combines community development techniques to identify, organize, and motivate miners with GPS devices to precisely locate the mining claims.

The Property Rights and Artisanal Diamond Development Project (PRADD) is a USAID-funded pilot program designed to improve the lives of diamond miners and their communities by developing methods to achieve clear, secure, and publicly acknowledged rights to land and resources. The methodology developed by PRADD helps miners to affirm their customary property rights claims, providing them a measure of protection they never had before. It also offers a way to improve compliance with the Kimberley Process, which was developed to trace a diamond’s origin to ensure that it was not used to fund violence. Two videos were made to show government officials, professionals working with the Kimberley Process and others involved in Land Tenure and Property Rights how the process works.

U.S. foreign assistance has always had the twofold purpose of furthering America’s foreign policy interests in expanding democracy and free markets while improving the lives of the citizens of the developing world.? If this is so, I ask, how have countries with the most valuable resources become the poorest on earth with intermittent warring and why did the countries intent on imperialism and globalization let this happen? Did we allow the corporations to become too powerful? Did you know that in the year 2000, of the world’s 100 largest economic entities, 51 were corporations and 49 were countries?

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