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ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

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

   ICT Network - Information Security Symposium

Chair's Opening Remarks


02 October 2012, Geneva, Swizerland

Distinguished colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure for me to join you via remote participation technology as you begin the second annual UN CEB ICT Network Information Security Special Interest Group symposium.

As you may know, this symposium has been jointly organized by the ILO, UNICC and the ITU.

I would like to thank Greg Vines, ILO’s Deputy Director-General for Management and Reform, for ILO’s generous offer to use ILO meeting rooms and provide logistical support.

I would also like to thank UNICC for its role as financial co-sponsor of this event.

In addition to welcoming those of you from the various UN ICT Network member agencies, I would also like to extend a welcome to our colleagues from numerous International Financial Institutions.

I am sure that the collaboration between your two groups will serve to enhance the proceedings and set the stage for ongoing information sharing and collaborative efforts in the future.

Everyone recognizes the importance of ICTs in the 21st century. ICTs are part of everything we do in the modern world, and will continue to play an ever-increasing role in sustainable social and economic development as we move forward.

Already there are more than six billion mobile cellular subscriptions worldwide, and there are close to 2.5 billion online. We are also rapidly seeing more and more devices interconnected with one another, and it is predicted that by 2020 connected devices will outnumber human beings by six to one.

In such a hyper-connected world, we face a rising tide of risks that run across the fabric of our global society, with potentially dramatic and serious consequences.

In 2007, we launched the ITU Global Cybersecurity Agenda to provide a framework for international cooperation aimed at enhancing confidence and security in the information society.

The GCA has fostered initiatives such as Child Online Protection and, through its partnership with IMPACT and with the support of leading global players, is currently deploying cybersecurity solutions to the 144 Member States who are ITU-IMPACT partners.

I was pleased to learn that one of your symposium’s themes this year is ‘Towards an Inter-Agency Computer Emergency Incident Response Team or CERT’.

There is an old Kenyan proverb that says ‘sticks in a bundle are unbreakable’.

Similarly, while no one organization has the expertise, technical, or financial resources to successfully respond to the challenging and dynamic threat landscape today, a collective effort – such as an inter-agency CERT which leverages best practices and industry expertise – could provide an effective solution.

ITU, together with IMPACT, has established a programme to assist Member States in deploying such capabilities, and as of today 42 countries have benefitted from such assistance. We would be glad to share this experience with you.Distinguished colleagues,

I see from the agenda that another theme for discussion is: ‘How should the role of the CISO evolve?’ And I am sure that the experts speaking on this topic will provoke some very fruitful discussion.

Along these lines, I know that you are keenly aware that cybersecurity and cybercrime affect each and every agency and programme of both the United Nations and International Financial Institutions.

Your role is vital to ensuring organizational information security, and I know that you don’t always have the visibility required to raise certain issues which deserve and need to be considered at the executive level.

As many of you know, the UN Chief Executive Board, through the High Level Committee on Programs, has formed a group, which some of you participate in, to work on a cybersecurity and cybercrime policy framework.

Let me therefore encourage all of you to follow the proceedings of this group, as it does have a direct bearing on your roles as Chief Information Security Officers.

In conclusion, I would like to acknowledge the work that you have undertaken so far.

The UN family can certainly benefit from standard approaches to information security policy and information security awareness training – and, of course, as already mentioned, a collaborative response to cybersecurity incidents.

Let me also acknowledge the value of this symposium in providing an opportunity to establish trust between each other, to share knowledge on a range of issues, and to continue working together to tackle the many challenges ahead.

I wish you a positive and productive symposium – and I shall look forward very much to seeing the results.

And on that note, I would like to hand the floor to Eugene Kaspersky – someone I know needs no introduction at all to your group – to provide his perspective on the Information Security Threat Landscape.

Thank you.