Speech from Dr Hamadoun I. Tour, ITU Secretary-General

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
20 March 2009

Distinguished colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to be here today for the inauguration of IMPACT – we have all been waiting for this day with tremendous anticipation.
Cybersecurity has become one of the biggest issues of our time.

The proliferation of always-on connections has created a global network of open conduits. Whilst this brings untold benefits in terms of access to information and knowledge on an unprecedented scale, it has also led to vast quantities of malware and spyware circulating freely on the Internet, and an alarming rise in the number and scale of cyber-threats, cyber-criminals, and cyber-terrorists.

What use is access to communications if we cannot guarantee peace and safety online?

That is why, just under two years ago – on 17 May 2007, to be precise – as facilitator of WSIS Action Line C5 on Building Confidence and Security in the use of ICTs, ITU launched the Global Cybersecurity Agenda, or GCA.

Designed as an international framework for cooperation and response, the GCA focuses on building partnership and collaboration between all relevant parties in the fight against cybercrime.

In May last year, one year on from the GCA launch, I was invited here to Malaysia, by the prime minister, as a member of the IMPACT Advisory Board.
We were quick to recognize the close synergies between the GCA and IMPACT, and were very pleased to sign an MoU at ITU Telecom Asia 2008, in Bangkok, last September.

Six months on, our collaboration has come to fruition, with IMPACT becoming the GCA’s operational, physical, state-of-the-art home.

I am pleased to say that there has been growing interest in our partnership amongst global industry players, individual countries and international and regional entities.

Through the transition that took place from strategy to implementation, GCA has positioned itself as the leading framework to deliver concrete solutions in our collective efforts to reduce cyber-threats at the global level.

Though our Development Sector, responsible for implementation, some 20 countries have expressed the desire to be in the first phase of this deployment – with a target of 50 planned for the next 12 months.

Cybersecurity is a global issue, demanding a truly global approach. Thanks to light-speed communications and ubiquitous networks, cybercriminals and cyberterrorists do not need to be anywhere near the scenes of their crimes, so an international response is the only possible solution.

It is therefore gratifying to see – and to be part of – this growing coalition aimed at building global solutions to address cyberthreats wherever they come from.

In closing, I would therefore like to thank everyone who has made IMPACT possible, including our numerous partners in this bold enterprise, and to extend my special thanks to the Government of Malaysia.

Thank you.