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2nd Meeting of the HLEG of the GCA 
Geneva, Switzerland
21 May 2008

Opening Remarks by ITU Secretary General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As you are aware, ITU launched the Global Cybersecurity Agenda (GCA) just over a year ago, in its capacity as sole facilitator for WSIS Action Line C5 – namely, the coordination of a worldwide response to the global challenges posed by Cybercrime.

In October 2007, HLEG congregated for the first time. Now, 7 months later, we are gathering here for the second HLEG meeting, and the GCA initiative is rolling ahead full steam. In fact, I am confident in stating that HLEG represents, without a doubt, the most credible group of cybersecurity experts in the world.

With a long history and a cybersecurity mandate in Development, Standardization and Radiocommunication, ITU itself is one of the main stakeholders in cybersecurity. However, the objective of the GCA is to address the activities and mandate of the much broader WSIS multi-stakeholder community.

In order for ITU to be able to meet its obligations as WSIS C5 Facilitator, , HLEG was established outside ITU’s existing structure, as an informal body that advises the Secretary-General in accordance with the Goals of the GCA, ITU’s role as facilitator for C5 and consistent with the multi-stakeholder spirit of the WSIS process.

When GCA was launched, the main responsibilities of HLEG were:

1. To meet the Global Cybersecurity Agenda’s main goals in the areas of:

  1. Legal Measures;
  2. Technical and Procedural Measures;
  3. Organizational Structures;
  4. Capacity Building;
  5. International Cooperation;

all of this while taking into account existing initiatives and the work of key stakeholders. The aim here is to elaborate strategies on emerging cyber-threats and highlight those solutions that would address them.

2. To propose further refinements of these goals and in light of any new developments in this field.

3. To analyse current and future developments in cybersecurity, including both threats and state-of-the-art solutions, anticipate emerging and future challenges, identify strategic options, and formulate concrete, action-oriented and precise proposals or recommendations to the ITU Secretary-General.

These were our main goals then and they are our main goals still, although I would now add that HLEG has an important ongoing advisory role to play even after these immediate goals are met.

The outputs from HLEG will be used primarily for two purposes:

1. The global strategies elaborated by HLEG in the five GCA work areas will serve as a vital resource for the broader WSIS Stakeholder community. It is expected that each stakeholder group will implement those strategies that are within their particular mandate and area of expertise, in the spirit of global cooperation, collaboration and building synergies. ITU, being a main stakeholder itself [which is, after all, why ITU was chosen as sole facilitator for C5], will also take account of those strategies that are in accordance with its Constitution and the ITU Convention.

2. The HLEG report will also be used by me as input for supporting proposals to ITU Council 2008, where ITU’s role as facilitator for WSIS Action Line C5 will be reviewed in accordance with ITU Constitution and Convention.

While not all HLEG experts were able to be here today, I am grateful to those of you that are here – I know that your time and energy is valuable and I greatly appreciate your effort in making the GCA what it is today.

I know, also, that you are here because you believe in the GCA and understand the very real dangers that face us globally. Dangers that are increasing and becoming more sophisticated with every passing day. ITU’s own Strategic Plan for 2008-2011 – which targets cybersecurity as one of the top priorities – has just begun. The expertise of HLEG members and the support of our GCA partners has never been more vital.

So, where does the GCA go from here, one year after it was launched?

Since, at the end of the day, making the world a safer place to live and do business will be thanks to what we do – now is the time to turn planning into action! Admittedly, making sure that this happens will require significant resources. Which is why I am pleased to announce the launch of a new GCA Sponsorship programme. This Sponsorship programme – the proceeds of which will be used to support the future work of the program, to help ensure that all relevant stakeholders are aware of HLEG’s valuable work, but also increase global understanding about how to work together to implement effective strategies. It will then be up to the stakeholders themselves – within their respective mandates and capabilities – to translate these strategies into concrete actions.

As part of a growing global community sharing the same desire for a safer and more secure information society, GCA Sponsors will help promote the goals of this initiative around the world by participating in high-profile business activities including publications, pubic campaigns, an annual conference and other events. In addition to the opportunity to meet with high-level decision makers, Sponsors also stand to enhance their image and credibility with their stakeholders. After all – thanks to your support – the GCA has firmly established itself as the worldwide leader in tackling cybersecurity.

In the meantime, there is still plenty to do, and it is my hope and belief that the work HLEG is doing will have positive repercussions for many years to come. I would like nothing better than to be able to look back and, in our current efforts, recognize the foundation of a safe and secure global information society. To this end, and with your support, I would therefore like to extend my invitation for the HLEG to continue at least until I submit my report to council after which we will decide a way forward. . I believe that HLEG has a crucial role to play in continuing to ensure that cyberspace remains a safe and secure environment.

Before closing, let me express my thanks to all the members of this Group including those who could not attend this meeting today. I will like to specially thank the Chair of HLEG, Judge Stein Scholberg and the Work Area Leaders:

  • Mr. Jaak Tepandi,
  • Mr. Justin Rattner,
  • Mr. Ta├»eb Debbagh,
  • Ms. Solange Ghernaouti-Helie,
  • Mr. Ivar Tallo,
  • Mr. Shamsul Jafni Shafie,
  • Mr. Zane Cleophas,

Thank you and I wish you an inspired and effective meeting.

 
 

 

 

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