High-Level Segment (HLS) of Council 2008

Geneva, 12-13 November 2008


Statement by Dr. Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary-General

Session 6: ITU Global Cybersecurity Agenda: Towards an International Roadmap for Cybersecurity

Excellencies, Ministers,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to chair this last session of the High Level Segment on the Global Cybersecurity Agenda.

By the end of the year there will be over 1.5 billion people online, and more than 400 million of them will have broadband access. The Internet is also widely pervasive in the developing world, with over 600 million users in Asia, 130 million in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 50 million in Africa.

This represents tremendous progress in our commitment to Connect the World.

Unfortunately, however, rapid Internet growth has brought with it equally rapid growth in the number and scale of cyberthreats, vastly increasing the dangers online, especially for children.

Security firms estimate that there are now over half a million pieces of malicious code in circulation – from viruses and worms, to Trojan horses and other malware. Increasingly, social networking sites and virtual worlds are being used to spread cyberthreats ever further across the net.

Hackers, meanwhile, are using ever-more sophisticated methods to break into computers with malicious intent. Just this summer, for example, we saw hackers gain access to both the Obama and McCain campaign computer networks, and there are constant attempts to attack government networks around the world.

On a personal level, we are all at risk of identity theft, and our children – the net’s most vulnerable community – are increasingly targeted online.

At WSIS, ITU was entrusted by world leaders as the sole facilitator of WSIS Action Line C5, “Building confidence and security in the use of ICTs”.

As a result, the ITU Global Cybersecurity Agenda was launched some 18 months ago, as a framework for international cooperation aimed at enhancing confidence and security in the information society. The GCA is designed to promote cooperation and efficiency, encouraging collaboration with and between all relevant partners and building on existing initiatives to avoid duplicating efforts.

Since its launch, the GCA has attracted the support and recognition of leaders and cybersecurity experts around the world. H.E. Dr. Óscar Arias Sánchez, President of the Republic of Costa Rica and Nobel Peace Laureate, and H.E. Blaise Compaoré, President of Burkina Faso, are both Patrons of the GCA – and we were most fortunate to have had the honour of President Compaoré’s presence here at the High Level Segment yesterday.

The GCA is now moving into its operational phase and ITU is undertaking a vital partnership in conjunction with the Government of Malaysia.

The ITU and the International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber-Terrorism – IMPACT – recently signed an MoU, in which IMPACT’s new state-of-the-art global headquarters in Cyberjaya, Malaysia, will effectively become the physical home of the GCA.

The close synergies between the five work areas of the GCA and the services and infrastructure provided by IMPACT make a joint-partnership a logical step in the global fight against cyberthreats, cybercrime and other misuses of ICTs.

An important new element of the GCA is the ITU’s Child Online Protection initiative – a unique, global, initiative bringing together partners from all sectors of the community to identify key risks and vulnerabilities in cyberspace; create awareness; develop practical tools; and share knowledge and experience.

If we are to take the lead in combating cybercriminals, cyberthreats, and cyberterrorists – and work to deliver cybersecurity and cyberpeace – then we must ensure the success of the GCA.

Fortunately, to help us do so, we have a fine selection of distinguished speakers for this final session of the HLS:

H.E. Mr. Ray Anthony Roxas-Chua III, Secretary of the Commission on Information and Communication Technology (CICT) Department of Transportation and Communications, Republic of the Philippines. Mr. Roxas-Chua joined the Philippine government in October 2007 as the Chairman of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT). He is also designated as the Development Champion of the Cyber Corridor Super Region and the Chairman of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Advisory Council.

H.E. Mr. Binali Yildirim, Minister of Transport, Republic of Turkey. Mr. Yıldırım is a Member of the Parliament since the year 2002 and the Minister of Transport of the Republic of Turkey. He was re-elected as a Member of Parliament from the province of Erzincan in July 2007 and continues his post as the Minister of Transport.

H.E. Mr. Radhakrishna Padayachie, Deputy Minister of Communications, Republic of South Africa. Mr. Padayachie is the Deputy Minister of Communications for the Republic of South Africa. He has held several leadership roles within the developmental, educational and political sectors and has also become one of the country's top experts on Early Childhood Development

H.E. Mr. Alexey Soldatov, Deputy Minister of Telecom and Mass Communications, Russian Federation.

Message on behalf of Carlos Lopes, Executive Director, United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), delivered by Ivar Tallo, Manager of the UNITAR e-governance programme

H.E. Mr. Abdou Aziz Sow, Ministre de l’Information et des Télécommunications, des TICS, du NEPAD, des Relations avec les Institutions et porte-parole du Gouvernement, République du Sénégal was unfortunately not able to join us at the last minute but he has sent his remarks and I invite you to look at the website to see his remarks.