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EU Statement – UN Open-ended Working Group on Security and ICT: Capacity building and Institutional Dialogue

27 July 2022, New York – European Union Statement at the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) on security of and in the use of information and communications technologies 2021-2025 Key EU messages for Agenda item 5: Capacity building and regular institutional dialogue

 

Capacity building

 

  1. Thank you Chair.
  2. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
  3. The Candidate Countries North Macedonia, Montenegro, the Republic of Moldova, Albania and Ukraine, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Georgia and Monaco align themselves with this statement.
  4. Let me start by saying that all of us need to have the right workforce in place for the challenges ahead, and it is a challenge to find and develop the next generation of cyber talent and to establish and keep capacities up to date that will allow us to enhance our cybersecurity.
  5. In this context, the calls to make concrete and action-oriented proposal on capacity building need to be addressed – including on the needs of developing states, enhance the cooperation between stakeholders on the design and delivery of capacity building as well as provide guidance on what capacities are needed to meet a baseline capacity on cybersecurity.
  6. The zero-draft could be clearer about the scope, noting that ICT capacity building is a wide definition, also including potentially activities outside the remit of the First Committee.
  7. In that sense, it is for the OEWG to set the baseline for capacity building on the use of ICTs in the context of international security, and allow Member States, regional organisations and other relevant stakeholders to take this guidance forward in their capacity building efforts.
  8. For example, the outcome of the National Survey of Implementation can help not only to  monitor progress, but – together with our work on norms guidance – can also elaborate on what capacities are needed to implement the norms of responsible state behaviour, including on how to address any challenges to implementation as well as gaps, in line with the efforts in the context of the Cybersecurity Capacity Maturity Model.
  9. Furthermore, in order for the international community to be effective and efficient, we suggest to make best use of existing platforms and initiatives, including the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise who focusses on global capacity building coordination, having over 160 members, working with an online portal that compiles capacity building programmes and activities called Cybil, and working through regional centers with partners on coordination of capacity building efforts.
  10. We therefore do not see a need to duplicate those efforts by a new UN mechanism, but rather ensure complementarity with existing proposals.
  11. On behalf of the PoA co-sponsors, France shared a paper on the Programme of Action. It provides details on the PoA initiative, its future role and complementarity with the OEWG. The EU requests the PoA to be properly reflected in the revised report, based on this paper.
  12. In the above context, the EU and its Member States make a strong call for the annual progress report to outline a process that would allow for further reflection upon existing and relevant initiatives in view of avoiding duplications at additional cost.
  13. We also consider the request to the UN secretariat to designate a capacity building focal point premature and deserves further discussion building upon informed presentation of existing practices within the UN.
  14. The EU suggests to reflect the above in recommendation 2: First the discussion on a permanent mechanism on coordination of capacity building should rather focus on raising awareness on existing initiatives and common understandings. Such discussion should precede the establishment of a permanent mechanism which would solely focus on capacity building and could contribute to existing proposals for a permanent mechanism that includes a range of functions, including coordination on capacity building, such as the PoA.  Second, where appropriate by encouraging a start of discussion on the UN Focal point. Third, to link the proposals reflected in the draft annual report to the PoA.
  15. Finally, we would therefore support to delete recommendation 4.

 

Institutional Dialogue

 

  1. Mr. Chair, please let me also raise some broader issues on the Programme of Action, as now reflected in the Chapter on the regular institutional dialogue.
  2. In full support of the comments provided by France and other co-sponsors, the EU requests to refine the reflection of the Programme of Action (PoA) to Advance Responsible State Behaviour in Cyberspace in the  revised draft report, taking into account the progress that has been made since by the international community, notably that since the first OEWG report has welcomed to explore further the establishment of the PoA as one of the key proposals for establishing a regular institutional dialogue.
  3. The OEWG should not define the PoA based on its discussions, nor reformulate the recommendation from the 2019-2021 OEWG.
  4. First the amendment para 12 on the varying levels of support from States is misleading as the further elaboration of the PoA is a consensual proposal that has been endorsed by all Member States in the prior OEWG.
  5. The OEWG should not also define the PoA based on its discussions, or reformulate the proposal made. The EU supports the amendment from France of the recommended steps para 2., The OEWG should rather look ahead and reflect the progress made on the PoA, welcoming further discussions, including in the OEWG, on the substance rather than commonalities.