Speech by ITU Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun I. Touré
Global Cybersecurity Cooperation :
Challenges and Visions
02 December 2013, Baku, Azerbaijan
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a real pleasure to join you today in Baku to discuss an issue that is very close to my heart: Global Cybersecurity Cooperation.
Let me take this opportunity to thank Azerbaijan, and in particular Minister Abbasov, for hosting this conference, as well as partners from Interpol, the World Bank and the World Economic Forum for their support.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Bridging the ‘digital divide’ has been of utmost concern for us in recent years and with almost two thirds of the global population still offline we know that many challenges still remain.
I am confident, however – with hard work and concerted efforts – that we will overcome these challenges and be able to ensure digital inclusion so everyone can enjoy the benefits and opportunities of connectivity.
Greater connectivity also brings with it greater risk, not least the risk of of losing trust and confidence in the networks we rely on, and the risk of losing trust and confidence in our ability to communicate securely.
The loss of such trust and confidence undermines the benefits of ICTs as an enabler of global social and economic development.
As our physical and cyber worlds overlap, there is an increased need to address the related challenges of ensuring security, human rights, rule of law, good governance and economic development.
Recent high-profile revelations, widely covered in the international media, about surveillance activities, have highlighted the lack of trust and the need for agreed norms and principles to rebuild confidence.
While bilateral and regional frameworks – as well as a number of global initiatives, including the ITU’s Global Cybersecurity Agenda – aim to address these issues, there remains a need to develop a comprehensive and inclusive international framework for cooperation.
The UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, highlighted the need for such an international framework very recently, at the Seoul Cyberspace Conference in October.
I recognize that some important efforts for achieving greater trust and confidence are already underway way but securing and building such trust and confidence in cyberspace cannot be achieved by a few countries in isolation.
I also understand the reasons behind the obstacles to achieving more open and multilateral cooperation, such as the predominance of national security concerns. But I believe countries can strike a balance and come together to build an effective international cybersecurity framework.
The more we come together to coordinate and exchange information, the more we can benefit and the more we will build resilience against cyber threats, both individually and collectively.
The World Conferencce on International Telecommunications, or WCIT, which was held exactly one year ago this week, represented a milestone in this global debate and established principles on how to balance the implementation of security provisions with commitments to human rights, within the context of international communications.
As a result, in the preamble of the treaty, Member States clearly affirmed their commitment to implement the treaty in a manner that respects and upholds their existing human rights obligations.
In line with this, Member States also emphasized the importance of closely working together to maintain the security and robustness of global ICT networks which is included as specific articles in the treaty.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I firmly believe that trust and confidence in the use of ICTs can only be achieved by being truly-inclusive; with the meaningful participation of all stakeholders, including civil society, industry, the academic and research community, goverments and international organizations.
Among stakeholder groups, the UN plays a valuable role bringing people together and as an effective facilitator for moving global dialogue forward towards agreed principles.
I have ardently advocated this matter at the United Nations Chief Executives Board, the CEB, which brings together all heads of UN agencies, since 2010.
At last week’s CEB meeting I conveyed to the heads of all UN agencies the message of coming together as one UN to respond to this global concern on cybersecurity and cybercrime issues and was pleased that the UN Secretary-General gave prominence to this topic.
As a concrete step I can announce here today that the heads of all UN agencies endorsed, for the first time, a common UN-wide framework on cybersecurity and cybercrime.
This framework highlights seven principles to enable enhanced coordination amongst UN agencies in their response to the concerns of Member States.
As we approach the 10-year anniversary of the 2005 World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), a comprehensive dialogue is already underway dealing with serious topics such as network security, authentication, privacy, and consumer protection as part of the 10-year WSIS review process.
It is extremely important that all stakeholders who are yet to engage with the process, do so as early as possible so that the discussions can be further enriched by your unique perspectives. The Second Multi-stakeholder Preparatory Meeting will be held at ITU in Geneva from 16 to 18 December.
The WSIS+10 process is a major UN undertaking, in which the ITU is actively engaged, as the coordinator, along with many other key UN organizations including FAO, ILO, UNCTAD, UNDESA, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, UN Women, WHO, WIPO, WMO, and the UN Regional Commissions.
All stakeholders from across the world are actively participating in the discussions and contributing their inputs in this global endeavour.
Ladies and gentlemen,
ITU’s extensive membership is fully engaged and includes the international community of governments, as well as all major global leaders in international telecommunications and ICTs.
ITU has been playing its role in bringing stakeholders from across the globe together, but it is clearly evident that no single entity can achieve this task alone.
In conclusion, let me reiterate the need for collective hard work to make the cyberspace safer for everyone, so that we can all trust and feel confident in the online world.
Without this, we will never be able to enjoy the extraordinary benefits awaiting humanity, when everyone has access to the vast opportunities offered by the Internet and the rapidly expanding online world.
We are committed to collaborating and to working together.
Because only together can we achieve our common goals.