The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the National Cybersecurity Authority (NCA) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have entered into a strategic partnership and launched a global programme on “Creating a Safe and Prosperous Cyberspace for Children".
The programme will foster innovative policies, ensure upgrading of skills, promote global dialogue and strengthen global efforts to implement the ITU Child Online Protection (COP) Guidelines, launched in June 2020.
The new strategic partnership aims to develop and implement child online safety policies among governments, industries, and civil societies to increase skills development and knowledge sharing with all relevant stakeholders, including children and their families. It will do so by creating a national, regional and international set of measures and programmes that will ensure child online protection while empowering children with the necessary cyber skills to fully benefit from the online environment.
“Ensuring children’s online safety has become more pressing than ever before,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “This new global programme strengthens the partnership between ITU and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to reduce online crimes targeting children and provide parents, teachers, educators and children with the necessary safety digital skills to face online risks. ITU appreciates the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s commitment to protecting children in cyberspace, as represented by the Crown Prince initiative for Safe Children in the Cyber World.”
Khalid Al-Sabti, Governor of the National Cybersecurity Authority (NCA) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, noted: “Creating a safer and more secure cyberspace while empowering children is a top priority for us, in line with H.R.H Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman's Global Initiative for Safe Children in the Cyber World – announced earlier this year during the Global Cybersecurity Forum (GCF). We worked hand in hand with ITU to design this comprehensive global programme and we are anticipating a meaningful impact on increased international cooperation and coordination on child online protection."
The partnership will contribute to ITU's mission of ensuring cybersecurity at the international level. As a result, governments will benefit from child online protection policies based on the new 2020 COP Guidelines and other tools developed by ITU and COP partners.
“This is a landmark collaboration to address child online safety at the global level," said Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau. “While promoting connectivity and the use of digital tools by children, the global programme sponsored by the National Cybersecurity Authority (NCA) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will help ITU and partners of the Child Online Protection initiative to build capacity and empower national stakeholders, including children, with digital safety skills."