The diamond conference which has become an annual event this year took a different direction to focus on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs were launched in 2015 by United Nations and are a universal set of targets and indicators covering urgent issues such as poverty eradication to environmental protection. The event, which was held on Tuesday, was graced by President Ian Khama who used the opportunity to underscore the necessity of economic diversification towards leading sustainable development. Khama said there is a need for government to continue engaging its stakeholders and partners on platforms of such calibre to explore as well as interrogate opportunities that accelerate sustainable shared values and implementation of outlined development. He said the country aims to have delivered a material improvement in the opportunities for the domestic commercial landscape through collaborative efforts and investments. “It is therefore crucial that we foster an environment which will enable us to build sustainable business models and initiatives to address challenges we face as we progress,” said President Khama. Khama said the conference was the first step towards achieving shared values and the realisation of thematic values outlined by Vision 2036 and UN SDGs. The relocation of De Beers Sales Function, Khama said, did not only create jobs and attract foreign investment, but strategically positioned Botswana as an emerging centre of gravity for the diamond industry, Jwaneng being recognised worldwide as the jewel prince of mines. “The government has ensured a stable and supportive environment for the diamond industry and De Beers has provided capital, technology and effective route to market,” he said, adding that the collaboration between Botswana government and De Beers continues to create impact by maximising the value of every Botswana diamond. With its global scale of and diverse operations, De Beers says the diamond industry has the potential to influence and affect all the SDGs. The SDGs are said to be of paramount importance to the industry. The group says it has long been driven by its commitment to Building Forever – ensuring its diamond drive prosperity and creates a positive legacy in its producer countries. The SDGs, it is believed, would enable De Beers Group to align its Building Forever commitments to contribute to global priorities while enhancing its operations and value chain in areas such as building confidence, facilitating collaboration and strengthening partnerships. Activities across De Beers Group value chain are said to directly contribute to the SDGs in a number ways. Such ways may relate to a company’s core business and social investments, or its public advocacy and participation in policy dialogue.