Session 1-3
Transcript (OEWG 2021-25)

This is an unofficial transcript of a UN session.

Ambassador Gafoor  

Distinguished delegates, a good morning to all of you. The third meeting of the first substantive session of the Open-Ended Working Group on security of and in the use of information and communication technologies 2021-2025 is called to order. This morning we will continue our consideration of agenda item four, general exchange of views. As delegations are well aware, we have a long list of speakers, and I’d like to encourage all of you to keep your interventions succinct and focused, so as to allow for maximum participation today. I’d also like to inform you of a few general points. First, I’d like to share with you that my impression of the discussions we had yesterday, in the general exchange of views is that we had a very productive discussion and exchange of views in terms of the number of statements we heard. I found the tone of the debate very positive and constructive and most of all, I was also encouraged by the many proposals and ideas that were mentioned in the different statements we heard from delegations, as well as groups of delegations. The discussions yesterday demonstrated that there is a genuine commitment to start engaging on the work, on the substance, on the ideas that are on the agenda of this working group. So it is my hope that today, we will continue in that same tone; same tone of being positive and constructive, and same tone of being very action oriented and concrete in terms of the ideas and proposals that we have been hearing. I’d also like to share with you that this afternoon at 1:15pm, it is my intention to convene once again, an informal meeting in conference room four to get an update from all interested delegations who had attended the meeting yesterday, to get an update from them, in terms of where we are on the discussions on the modalities for the participation of stakeholders. I’d also like to hear from them as to whether they have made any progress in terms of their discussions with other delegations, and in terms of finding possible solutions to move forward. So we will continue this morning, with the general exchange of views here in this meeting room, and at 1:15, we will move to an informal setting in conference room four; and as I mentioned earlier conference room four is only able to accommodate 85 participants, so it will be in a much smaller setting, and I would encourage delegations to organize themselves into groups, and all interested delegations are welcomed to participate, as well as groups of delegations or representatives of groups. The intention for the meeting this afternoon is to get an update and to continue the conversation and to continue exploring ideas for a possible way forward. I remain optimistic that a solution can be found. But we have to work hard, and we have to continue our work and our conversation. In this respect, I would encourage all of you to reach out to each other, talk to the other interested delegations and find possible solutions to move us forward, because there’s a lot that we need to do this week in terms of the substance, in terms of the agenda, and I’m certainly very keen to continue moving ahead in terms of substantive discussions on the agenda of the working group. With these preliminary comments, I’d like now to move to the speaking list for this morning, and as I indicated yesterday afternoon before we adjourned, the first speaker for this morning will be the representative of France and I give the floor to France.

France

Thank you very much chair, and a very good morning to all delegations. I wish you an excellent working day ahead. Chair, we’re starting out work at the end of 2021, which saw important substantial diplomatic progress on discussions of ICTs in the context of international security, but which at the same time, record the breadth of the challenges before us in this field. As was mentioned yesterday, as we opened our work, Ambassador Lauber, and Ambassador Petriota said that 2021 was remarkable because of progress made on cybersecurity at the United Nations, two working groups, firstly, the Open-ended Working Group and then the Group of Governmental Experts, agreed in spring on five substantial final reports. These two reports were endorsed during the First Committee this autumn through a unique resolution adopted without a vote, that my country amongst many others sponsored. Thus, to start our work, we have a solid and consensus-based foundation, which is provided to us by the conclusions and recommendations of these processes. But at the same time as we have made this notable diplomatic progress 2021 reminded us of the gravity of the risks and the vulnerabilities that continue to threaten the stability of cyberspace. The level of tension and confrontation has not fallen as well, we are facing a global pandemic, which should have caused greater international solidarity. The malicious use of ICTs has continued to grow in severity and sophistication, in a context where this pandemic has accentuated our dependence on these technologies. Threats, such as ransomware can affect critical infrastructure like hospitals, this has all worsened, in addition, states capacity to prevent ICT incidents, to be able to respond to them effectively. They have different views, stronger, different views, and this compromises our collective resilience when faced with the malicious use of ICTs.  In this context, at a time when our work is beginning, I would like to recall that we have a common responsibility. It is up to us to under your chairmanship. Sir, we’ve maintained this constructive trend, which has allowed the two working groups to be so successful this year. We must use this as our springboard and look to develop and make precise recommendations and foster the implementation of all of this to make the international community achieve progress in establishing peace and security in cyberspace, but we’re also starting a five year process. Probably over this long session, we will have to collectively think about whether we need to analyze new threats linked, for example, to new types of proliferation, particularly the spread of some cyber capacity in the private sector, an increase of that and also the indirect effect of the increased use of artificial intelligence in our day to day lives. Now in terms of our work, my delegation would like to insist on the following. France wishes firstly, that this process allows us to have deeper discussions on agreed normative frameworks for responsible state behavior and on the modalities of implementing this international law is an essential component of this normative framework. As recommended by the OEWG and the GGE, we must continue our discussions to establish a common understanding in the way that this law applies to cyberspace. These discussions could be underpinned by opinions or views already shared by a certain number of States. France shared a document which reminds us of its views on international law of cyber operations, and we encourage all states to do the same. Also, we plan on contributing to add increasing our understanding to norms foster responsible state behavior and we continue to enrich recommendations regarding their concrete application in continuing work by previous groups to guide states in the implementation of this number. Numerous questions require further clarification and our work will be key for this due diligence for example, non proliferation. Finally, we must add to these exchanges by renewed support for the implementation of these norms. Chair, as you know, we submitted to the previous Open-ended Working Group a proposal for a cyber Programme of Action with 53 other States and the European Union. This proposal seeks particularly to better support states in their national implementation efforts for the responsible state behavior framework and to develop substantial dialogue and cooperation with other stakeholders in fields where this is necessary. With the other co-sponsors of this resolution we submitted to this Open-ended Working Group, a paper which sets forth the objectives and potential modalities for this proposal. In line with the recommendations of the previous Open-ended Working Group and of the GGE. We are ready to continue to elaborate on these and develop these proposals in a transparent and inclusive fashion by discussing this with all interested states, particularly within the framework of the work that brings us all together here today. Thank you, Chair.

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much France for the statement. I now give the floor to the Islamic Republic of Iran, which has indicated that it is speaking on behalf of a group Iran you have the floor please. 

Iran 

I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of Belarus, Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Syria, Venezuela and my country Iran. I congratulate your election as the chair of the Open-ended Working Group on their security and in the use of information and telecommunications technologies for five years. This is a process initiated and continuously advocated by this like minded group and we are happy to see that now this has become the only global inclusive, transparent and intergovernmental process, aiming at realizing safe and secure cyberspace for all based on its founding resolution 75 /240. For us, one strategic goal in this endeavor is to reject any malicious activity in cyberspace, and instead utilizing ICT is only for peaceful purposes. To this end, it is very crucial that we build upon the work of the previous OEWG and also respect the mandate and research for this OEWG in the set resolution and reconfirmed by via resolution 76 / 19. A practical way to accomplish the set task is to establish subgroups as envisaged in resolution 75 / 240 and start a text-based negotiation on the final document, as soon as the elaborations on the possible elements of the final document reach a sufficient level of maturity. Fortunately, the final report of the previous OEWG has captured many converging elements, while highlighting the ones that we still need to work on them to reach a consensus, we can and should continue exactly from where the previous OEWG finished off. Given the state driven nature of the OEWG, we believe in some relevant principles such as: respecting the sovereignty of states non-interference in the internal affairs of the states using ICTs; accountability of platforms and transnational corporations; the need for codifying and implementing a legally binding instrument and developing the current international law as well as further norms of responsible state behavior; the non-compulsory designation of repositories of responsible behavior of non state actors, including digital platforms to ensure and facilitate the cooperation of the relative digital platforms and transnational corporations with the state’s; application of ICTs for peaceful purposes and rejecting justification of threat or use of force by means of ICTs; and last but not least, equal status of all national initiatives within the OEWG. We hope these will be guiding principles for this new OEWG. In the same vein, we strongly reject the unilateral, coercive measures that prevent the equal access and peaceful use of ICTs for the benefit of economic and social development of the people who suffer from them. On another organizational matter, we acknowledge their role and contribute of non governmental stakeholders in supporting states to ensure an open, secure, stable, accessible and peaceful ICT environment, and welcome the chairs conclusion to maintain the precedent of the first OEWG and continue to engage stakeholders in informal consultative meetings. Lastly, it is irregular to learn that once again, the host country has not issued visas timely for delegates of some member states. This is clear violation of the host country agreement and goes against the UN principle of the equal footing of the member states as well as the required inclusivity of the OEWG. We urge the host country to implement its legal obligation to issue the requested visas in a prompt manner and without any politicized approach. We appreciate all of the efforts of the relative UN authorities to follow up on this issue, and hope that the international community’s efforts will end in fulfilling the responsibilities of the host country at large. I thank you, Mr. Chair.

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much, Iran for the statement. I now give the floor to the delegation of Australia. You have the floor please.

Australia 

Thank you chair. As this is the first time that I take the floor in this process. Please allow me first to thank you, Ambassador Gafoor for agreeing to steer this process. And please rest assured that you can count on Australia’s full support. Previous GGE reports from 2010, ’13 and ’15, all of which were adopted by consensus in the UN General Assembly provided a basis for our discussions in the first OEWG. These reports set out the international community expectations and provide a framework for what countries should and should not do in cyberspace. The universal recognition and reaffirmation of that framework in our consensus 2021 OEWG report is a significant achievement. The consensus 2021 GGE report built upon our collective commitment to the framework of responsible state behavior, beginning a process of capturing our collective experience and best practice, some of which is already being implemented in the day to day work of our cybersecurity agencies and technical communities. Australia reaffirms our commitment to act in accordance with these reports in their entirety. Our commitment to act in accordance with international law, including the UN Charter in its entirety, as well as the norms of responsible state behavior in cyberspace. We also encourage other countries to likewise be transparent and unequivocal in their commitment to act in accordance with these agreed rules of the road. Transparency breeds accountability, predictability, and stability. The significant work of the past two years captured in the 2021 OEWG and GGE reports should not remain words on a page. Already, there are countries and organizations that are taking those texts and recommendations and working to operationalize them, turning the words on a page into concrete actions, and into guidance on how states can identify emerging cyber threats, understand the impacts of malicious cyber activity and address these threats responsibly and comprehensively. Australia considers this to be imperative to our core mandate of this Open-ended Working Group, which is promoting and protecting international peace and security in cyberspace. The pillars of our framework international law norms, CBMs supported by capacity building, are intrinsically linked and intrinsically reinforcing. It’s only by adhering to the commitments we have made by implementation supported by coordinated and targeted capacity building to ensure all states are in a position to adhere to those commitments, and through greater accountability when they are broken, that we can make progress towards a more open, secure, stable and peaceful cyberspace and be in a position to face the known and unknown threats that our global community will face in the future. We must look forward not backward with the tools that we have at our disposal, and work to pivot and utilize our framework for responsible state behavior to overcome the threats that we will see in the future. This should form the basis for our substantive work, there is much to be done, but we have the time and space to make significant progress. I want to touch briefly on a few procedural matters. Australia is committed to inclusive discussions inclusivity means ensuring a diversity of perspectives and experiences are represented. Diversity comes in many forms. Geographic Diversity remains difficult as pandemic travel restrictions fluctuate. Many colleagues, particularly from my home region, the Indo Pacific, we’re not able to travel here today, unable to participate from home, I hope that we can be flexible in our future working methods to ensure the greatest geographical participation possible. As mentioned by Ambassador Lauber yesterday, the unprecedented gender parity enjoyed in some sessions of the 2021 OEWG substantially contributed to its progress, success and ambition. The continuation of the Women in Cyber fellowship, including those fellows present here today, from all across the world, is one tangible measure towards inclusivity. As mentioned yesterday, Australia remains a strong supporter of meaningful multistakeholder engagement. And I will hope that our informal session today provides an acceptable solution as we move forward on that discussion. But continuing our good work towards diversity inclusion will only enrich our conversation to help us better understand where we can find commonalities. Chair, colleagues, the 2021 OEWG success should not be taken for granted. Many of those here today, and many who could not be here today worked incredibly hard to find compromise and consensus. We should not underestimate the effort that will be required by us to make further progress. The issues we are here to discuss a contentious and complex, but they’re also critical. There are many things that we disagree about. But I believe that we’re all here because we know that in the face of future threats, progress is our only option. Australia is committed and optimistic that we can collectively advance responsible state behavior and cyberspace. The chair has Australia’s full support, and we stand ready to assist. Thank you.

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much, Australia for the statement and I’ll give the floor to the delegation of Mexico. You have the floor please.

Mexico

Mr. President, we add our voices and expressions of support for your leadership. You have Mexico’s support as you lead this working group. We are grateful for the presentations of Izumi Nakamitsu and Ambassadors Lauber and Patriota as the chairs of the previous Open-ended Working Group and GGE. All of these statements are a valuable starting point for our discussions at this first substantive session. Chair, Mexico gives special importance to discussion, which in multilateral fora seeks to promote the peaceful uses of cyberspace to increase the benefits which information communication technologies offer, now at the same time as they acknowledge the challenges these present for international security. For this reason, Mexico acknowledges that the delegations meet at this headquarter to begin the process of this working group, despite the prevailing restrictions due to the pandemic. Mexico believes that ICTs can be an essential element to encourage development as well as a space for the full exercise and promotion of human rights, particularly freedom of expression and of information. At the same time. Mexico believes that cyberspace governance is an issue of the greatest priority in order to build a safe, reliable and interoperable environment for government actors, private sector, academia and civil society as well as individual users. We affirm that the starting point for this work is the progress made through the reports of the GGE, and the more recent OEWG. In this regard, Mexico calls on all actors to focus on substantive work to implement confidence building measures as well as the 11 standards to establish a common comprehensive framework for responsible state behavior in cyberspace. In this regard, Mexico stresses the opportunity the working group should offer to make progress in mechanisms for follow up and periodic voluntary reporting on the only implementation or the obstacles to implement these norms and specific recommendations. Mexico reaffirmed to the commitment of the international community to ensure an open safe, stable, accessible and peaceful, ICT environment calls on all parties to continue working on the applicability of international law and cyberspace referring not only to the Charter of the United Nations, but all bodies of international law, including international human rights law, international humanitarian law, international criminal law and other sources of jurisprudence. Mexico is open to channelling the discussions of the working group for a broader understanding of the applicability of international law, from a more practical viewpoint as well. Chair, for my delegation is essential to acknowledge the speed of the development of new technologies as well as the diversification in cyber tools, which can represent new threats to security and to peace. Nevertheless, we must take into account that the problem is not the technology itself, but rather the hostile or criminal use of this technology. For which reason we advocate for technology neutral focus, in this group’s discussion, as well as conflict prevention, and the peaceful solution of conflicts. Mexico believes that countering threats should not at any time restrict the potential of technologies as catalysts for development. In this regard, Mexico will promote during our work the creation of a global cyber incident repository in which member states can voluntarily share experiences on the technical characteristics and variables of attacks or incidents reported but also on mitigation and recovery measures, thus promoting international cooperation as a pillar of the multilateral work of the United Nations. For Mexico it is important to make progress not only when it comes to regulating cyberspace, but also in the democratic access to new technologies, and building capacity to close gaps in this access, with a cross cutting agenda focus, and also continuously, bearing in mind the vulnerable populations. Other practical aspects such as rapid definition of contact points, and strengthening the systems for notification through national CRTs are points which we believe where we believe progress should be made through this working group. Mexico recognizes the work of monitoring and implementation in various regions. In our particular case, we applaud the work of the OAS, the CELAC and in the North America region, which has been undertaken to implement the standards recommendations and confidence building measures for safe cyberspace. As we already have said, during the session, Mexico advocates the broadest participation of all stakeholders and actors. Considering that this promotes a constructive dialogue and guarantees an open safe, stable, accessible, and peaceful ICT environment. We trust that under your leadership chair, we will be able to reach an agreement on inclusion of NGOs in our discussions, regardless of their consultative nature with the United Nations.  Last wewish to stress that we will have to acknowledge without duplicating efforts, or mandate creep the existence of discussions on diverse aspects which are the most pressing challenges in cyberspace, the use of ICTs with hostile and illicit purposes, and the governance of emerging digital technologies and the internet. We must maintain the consistency between these discussions and those which shortly will begin the framework of the special committee on cybercrime. Only a comprehensive vision will make possible action and strengthening of cyber diplomacy which in the United Nations already has produced substantive, tangible results. Thank you very much Chair.

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Mexico for the statement. I now give this floor to the delegation of Ecuador. You have the floor please.

Ecuador

I wish to reiterate my delegations thanks for your statement yesterday as well as the message of High Representative Izumi Nakamitsu and the messages of Ambassador Lauber, Chair of the previous Open-ended Working Group, and Ambassador Patiaota, chair of a group of experts. As I already have indicated, Ecuador appreciates the fact that the reports of both groups were adopted by consensus, and that in the First Committee, we have returned to a single resolution, that spirit of cooperation is the same, we must make the most of and encourage in this session. Chair, yesterday I stressed the inclusive fashion, in which you led the organizational session last June. I also expressed my gratitude for your letter 15 of November, in which you conveyed the proposed programme of work for the substantive session, indicating that it was still possible to improve the format. I wish to acknowledge your strong leadership of his working group and the proposal in your letter of 13 December, as a function of the informal consultations conducted with with delegations, Ecuador appreciates the seven points in your letter and we trust that we will be able to make progress in the framework of inclusive modalities, which will facilitate the contribution of the many stakeholders and in this way, the effective, efficient work of this group, the main stakeholders where the experience and scientific knowledge will contribute to capacity building, and knowledge sharing, as well as preventing this exercise. from becoming a simple theoretical exchange. Chair, Ecuador wishes to stress that at present, the threats we face are mostly transnational in nature. The only way of countering and overcoming them, either physically or virtually, is through international cooperation and dialogue. Ecuador defends the responsible exclusively peaceful use of of information and communication technologies as the best way of guaranteeing the safety of cyberspace. Ecuador rejects the militarization of cyberspace and any use activity or practice, which runs counter to the Charter of the United Nations. We reiterate that nothing is outside the reach of international law, much less international humanitarian law or international human rights law. This working group has a long road ahead, but we are not starting from scratch. Quite the contrary. The consensus report of the previous OEWG as well as the conclusions of the last GGE and the previous ones are solid basis to make progress towards strengthening the standards for voluntary behavior, but also to establish standards of a binding nature. Ecuador continues to support the objective of  a legally binding instrument. But we acknowledge that rapid technological change in the dynamic evolution of ICTs in the context, context of international security at a greater level of complexity. For this reason, we believe that for an instrument to be effective, it must be built on the basis of verified best practices. With a framework of adaptability in this regard, as we make progress both was perfecting the existing standards and principles of responsible behavior as well as strengthening international law we must be able to make progress as well in implementing existing frameworks and standards. For this reason, Ecuador supports the initiative Programme of Action as a permanent platform, which is action oriented as well as confidence building and capacity building. Lastly, my delegation hopes that its open ended working group will not confine itself to stressing the large number of women participating and the importance of the gender perspective in his discussions, but rather incorporate recommendations and proposals, which will make it possible to overcome the differentiated impact of the malicious use of ICTs on women and girls chair once again, you can count on the full support of my delegation in this work. Thank you very much, sir.

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much Ecuador for this  statement, I now give the floor to the delegation of Romania. Do have the floor please.

Romania 

For giving me the floor. Romania fully aligns itself with a statement presented on behalf of the EU and its member states. Mr. Chair, at the beginning of this new process of negotiation, I take the opportunity to wish you the best of luck in the years ahead, and to ensure you have the full support and commitment of the Romanian delegation. The task of running the OEWG will likely not be easy. But we have full confidence in your ability to bring us to consensus on this key forum for negotiating one of the most important domains of international security. In following your advice, Mr. Chair, I will not focus too much on reiterating well known positions of my country, as it has been expressed repeatedly in both the previous GGE and OEWG in the GA First Committee negotiations and in all other forums in which we discuss the use of ITCs, in the context of international security. I will only reiterate that our position is based on the acquis on the need to consolidate the free, open, peaceful and secure nature of cyberspace on its multistakeholder model on consolidating explicit references to how international law International humanitarian law and international human rights law apply to the use of ITCs and on finding concrete ways to improve the capacities and mutual confidence among UN member states. What I will do is focus on a number of objective realities, which determine Romania’s overall approach to this new OEWG. The first of these objective realities is that the OEWG is an inclusive body. It was promoted as such and it was adopted as such by the UN membership. Consequently, the OEWG must deliver on its inclusivity promise. The first way it can deliver is through its methods of work, which must allow the active and substantial participation of all its members. Even with the limitations of the present pandemic. The mere feeling of seats at headquarters is not inclusivity, but just the formal appearance of it. We need hybrid conference tools in order to allow for active involvement of members in the debates even if the responsible parties in capitals cannot be physically present in the room. The second way it can deliver is through the appropriate involvement of multistakeholders, which not only constitute key actors in the administration of cyberspace, but also hold key expertize which is absolutely necessary in our work. Their role needs to be formally recognized and their input must be a part of our work on substance. Another objective reality is that UN membership urgently needs a cyber capacity building framework and the clear and comprehensive proposal. In that regard is already on the table supported by more than 50 states. The Programme of Action is both compatible and needed by the OEWG. It can support its work and assist its members in contributing to it. The third objective reality is the most important as it refers to the substance of our work. This realities that cyberspace does not create actors, but merely allows existing ones to interact. It is an environment which facilitates the exchange of information, ideas and opinions, and also facilitates economic development and diversification. Even though cyberspace can be misused, such misuse can only be carried out by the same actors that coexist outside of it. Consequently, we protect the archy of the previous GGE and OEWG, which was endorsed by the General Assembly. It reflects an agreement that is nothing more than an observation of fact, that the rules based international order applies to the use of ITCs in the context of international security, and that states are consequently subject to the same international obligations, as in any other domains. We note that even though new dangers such as ransomware have risen to the level of national security threats, and require us to cooperate in preventing and counteract in their impact. They could be mitigated best if states take responsibility for the threats originating from their territory. When we evaluate proposals about the overall governance of cyberspace, and the various suggestions about segmentation, abusive sovereignty surveillance disrespect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and not fulfilling international obligations in that maintaining international peace and security. We know that these suggestions are neither new nor specific to cyberspace and could not hold the value of a model. These objective realities Mr. Chair, will determine Romania’s approach within the five years mandate of OEWG. I thank you, Mr. Chair.

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Romania for the statement, I now give the floor to the delegation of Iraq. You have the floor please.

Iraq

Thank you very much Chair. First of all, on behalf of the delegation, Republic of Iraq, I would like to congratulate you on your election to lead the open ended Working Group on secure developments underway, and ICTs for the 2021-2025 period.  My delegation is ready to cooperate with you and to support your efforts to ensure the work of this meeting is successful and achieves tangible results that meets the concerns of member states, thus contributing to the creation of a safe and peaceful environment for ICTs.  The delegation of Iraq would also like to align itself to the statement made by the delegation of Indonesia on behalf of the non-aligned movement.  Chair, the Iraqi government is convinced of the need to support efforts that seek to guarantee a peaceful and safe use of ICTs in order to serve human objectives and help member states in their fight for sustainable development within public frameworks that have been agreed on a global level and whatever their technological and scientific level are it is therefore essential to promote social, economic, and environmental and health growth. With this in mind, Iraq’s delegation would like to express its support to the role of the United Nations in promoting dialogue and cooperation between member states with the aim of achieving joint agreements on issues on security of ICTs and their use for peaceful ends. We also in favor of growing collective efforts to make available the criteria rules and principles of responsible behavior in this field as well as encouraging regional efforts that seek to have greater transparency and trust. Chair, the question of capacity building and promoting partnerships and sharing knowledge in the field of ICTs. It’s also crucial and necessary, in order to bridge the substantial gap here, between developed and developing countries in this field. Science and Technology cannot be restricted to a group or country. In particular, thus the delegation of Iraqis would underscore the importance of lifting all restrictions in this field. We refuse the use of the sort of cyberspace as a way of imposing by constrictive discriminative or binding measures against another country with the aim of depriving it of services and information and this connection, and delegation would recall the importance of working together to prevent the use of ICTs for purposes other than those for which they were created. We’d also reiterate the importance of respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms in the use of these technologies, and to not put obstacles in place that would hinder scientific research and the development of these technologies for peaceful purposes. Chair, today the international community is facing a phenomena of the increased use by terrorist and criminal groups of ICTs and also resources as well as an increase in cyber attacks on businesses and specific states economies. Thus this is a threat to their national security. In this context, we’d like to indicate that some public institutions and establishments as well as government bodies and private businesses were subjected to repeated cyber attacks and this undermine their operations and damaged their infrastructure. It also strengthened terrorist groups which seek to achieve their terrorist plans within Iraq. Faced with the situation the Iraqi government has taken specific measures that we could summarize as follows. Firstly, in 2007, we established a national specialized group for cybersecurity and the response to cyber attacks. It seeks to protect the internet infrastructure, raise awareness on the protection of privacy, and individuals and businesses online as well as protecting networks and national data centers and official structures that work in cyber field. This group coordinates national efforts to support private and public institutions, which are looking to protect themselves and protect their services too online through a local unit within businesses that have a link to the cyber response group. Also, we have a clear institutional framework for digital security and this is done through a national cybersecurity strategy which covers all aspects of that vital infrastructure, but also the legislative and regulatory aspects of ICT security. This is in line with resolutions and measures adopted by the UN in this field, in addition to criteria that have been established by the ITU and other specialized agencies in this field. In conclusion, the delegation of Iraq would like to once again underscore the need for addressing disputes stemming from cyberattacks as well as questions on ICT security in a way that is in line with state’s commitments to respect the UN Charter, and the relevant provisions of international law. Thank you very much Chair. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much, Ambassador for your statement. I will give the floor to the delegation of Nepal, you have the floor please.

Nepal 

Thank you, Chair. Mr. Chair, at the outset, I’d like to congratulate you on your assumption at the Chair of the Open-ended Working Group. We are confident that this working group will have a productive session, which will bring a far reaching and consensus outcome documents under your leadership and my delegation assures you of our full support and cooperation in the deliberations of this working group. My delegation aligns itself with a statement delivered by Indonesia on behalf of the non-aligned movement. Mr. Chair, open, secure, peaceful and accessible information and communication technologies have become a common good for humankind and it is vital to international peace and security and instrumental for the achievement of sustainable development goals. Unprecedented advances in ICT have propelled our economic development to a higher place and transformed people’s life in a massive way. However, the malicious use of ICTs causes the catastrophic disruption in our economy and poses a serious threat to the disruption of international peace and security. Our capacity to safeguard critical systems and infrastructures from cyber attacks has become a serious challenge at present day. Our ability to tackle the challenges by promoting peaceful cyberspace radiates from our common understanding and cooperation in this field. In view of rapid innovation in the field of ICT, we are in need of a robust set of rules based on accepted norms of international laws, including UN charter for standardized state behavior in cyberspace. Equally important is to extend support to developing world for the capacity building in order to leave no one behind from the fruit of ICTs. My delegation considers that OEWG can hugely be benefited by the expertise knowledge and experience of academia, private sectors and civil society in the field of peaceful uses of ICTs.  Nevertheless, we the member states and any, any pretext must not forget our responsibility to make necessary decisions in an appropriate manner, as a state is the only collective political entity to represent the collective voice of the people. Mr Chair, as we proceed to our discussing in this group, we should draw on the reports of previous OEWG and GGEs to take forward the discussions and further refinement of those findings, which were previously agreed upon. Specially in the areas of protection of critical infrastructure, information sharing, confidence building and capacity building. We should fully utilize OEWG to develop the rules, norms and principles of responsible behaviors of states; confidence building measures, trust, cooperation, and transparency among the member states, lay the foundation for the implementation of agreed norms of responsible state behavior. The world is driven by digital divide, due to acute gaps in resources and capacities among the member states. Many of the developing countries are at a rudimentary level of ICT knowledge and infrastructure, let alone the capacity to fend off the malicious use of ICTs.  It is our collective responsibility to enhance the capacities of member states so that they can utilize ICTs to leapfrog their development process while they would be able to curb cyber crimes to reduce the risk to international peace and security. Mr. Chair, my delegation attaches great importance to these OEWG, with the sincere hope that it will not only be able to formulate common understanding on the norms, rules and principles for responsible state behavior, but it will also be able to promote open, secure, peaceful and accessible information and communication technologies for sustainable development of all countries, including the least developed countries and my delegation is committed to engaging constructively in the deliberations of this working group. I thank you, Mr. Chair.

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much, Ambassador for your statement. I now give the floor to the delegation of Slovenia, you have the floor please.

Slovenia

Distinguished Chair, your excellencies, dear colleagues. The first Open-ended Working Group presented a historic opportunity for all states to engage under the auspices of the United Nations on the matters related to information and communications technologies, and in the context of international security. In the same spirit, the current substantive session of the new Open-ended Working Group presents an opportunity to actually raise awareness and enhance the common understanding of the UN framework for responsible state behavior in cyberspace, and how to prevent the use of ICTs by states in a manner that is inconsistent with international obligations. Slovenia fully aligns itself with the position of the EU and its member states. Slovenia stress that the open ended working group should be transparent, inclusive, and consensus driven environment for stakeholders to elaborate, express and exchange views as regards as the responsible use of ICTs by states. Our discussions should be built on the existing consensus from UN GGEs and Open-ended Working Group reports and allow for further exchanges on operationalizing the consensus recommendations provided therein.  Mr. Chair, please allow me to touch upon some of the elements for such discussions. Slovenia reiterates its position that the UN Charter in its entirety and international humanitarian and human rights law apply to states actions in cyberspace. We expect that OEWG to elaborate further on the existing acquis of the international law and how international Human Rights law and principles of international humanitarian law apply in cyberspace. Second, given the increase of cyber attacks conducted by states or state sponsored actors, norms or responsible state behavior must continue to be promoted to develop and share experience and good practice on norms implementation. Slovenia in the past six months also in the capacity of the Presidency of the Council of the EU, actively promotes the implementation of the existing norms, engages in cyber dialogues and structure exchanges with regional organizations, states and other stakeholders. An important pillar of the framework for responsible state behavior supporting implementation of its norms are also Confidence Building Measures. CBMs can strengthen the overall security, resilience and peaceful use of ICTs. The dialogue within the OEWG in itself has become a CBM and such is an important reference point for global CBMs. We encourage the OEWG to foster synergies with regional organizations, such as the OSCE Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe, speaking in our geographical sphere, to build on an exchange practical tools, best practices and examples to engage and advise the development and implementation of CBMs at regional level.  Forth, furthermore, the practical foundation for implementation of the framework for responsible state behavior in cyberspace our capacity building efforts, as the international community ability to prevent or mitigate the impact of malicious ICT activity depends on the capacity of each state to prepare and respond. In this respect, Slovenia calls especially for a gender sensitive and multistakeholder approach to capacity building. Tailored capacity building efforts and actionable proposals aimed at advancing responsible state behavior in the use of ICs and ultimately, at strengthening international security and stability in the cyber domain represent foundations of the Programme of Action to advance responsible state behavior. Slovenia fully supports the POA initiative and believe in its complementarity with the OEWG. Distinguished Chair, dear colleagues, Slovenia is and will remain committed to contribute constructively in the work and expect the concrete outcomes of the OEWG. Thank you Chair. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much Slovania for the statement. I now call upon the delegation of Uruguay, you have the floor please

Uruguay

Chair. Since this is first time Uruguay is speaking in this first session of the Open-ended Working Group we wish to congratulate the chair for his appointment, as well as congratulate him for the work programme which we believe is an excellent starting point to fulfill the mandate in resolution 75/240. We wish him the greatest success this week. We avail ourselves of this opportunity to stress once again your wise commitment to the three pillars of the work of the United Nations: peacekeeping and international security; human rights; and economic development. As a faithful defender and contributor to peacekeeping, as an engine to the maintenance of international peace and security, Uruguay believes that cybersecurity is an essential element when it comes to preventing international conflict. In this regard, the need to strengthen and uphold peace, security and above all, confidence in the use of ICTs has never been as obvious as now. Negative trends such as their malicious use in the digital world, could undermine international peace and security, put enormous pressure on economic growth and sustainable development and impede the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Particular stress on the fact that the centrality of defending human rights must be just as important in the digital domain as in the real world. Uruguay aspires to this OEWG, like previous ones, offering a democratic, transparent, inclusive platform for participation [unclear] states and to express their opinions. My delegation, Chair, reaffirms the need for the United Nations continue playing a central role in promoting dialogue on the use of ICTs by states. Therefore, I should not fail to mention the importance of having approved resolution A4619 by consensus. This resolution, advances in the area of information telecommunications in the context of international security, shows a spirit which should prevail in these very delicate areas thanks to international security. The resolution recognizes the work of the OEWG as a multilateral platform, which is inclusive and promotes understanding between states and the international cooperation to the achievement of an ICT environment which is open, secure, stable, accessible and peaceful. It stresses the value of the 4 OEWG reports which are cumulative in nature and reiterates the importance of member states continue building a common understanding based on the previous reports of the OEWG as well as the reports of the GGE. We call on states not to duplicate mandates efforts and the existing activities of the United Nations in these areas. The synergies should be strengthened, consistency improved and the mandate of each body should be respected in order to make concrete progress on a front which is of interest to the entire membership, which is a reflection of the continuity of groups such as this. Uruguay also acknowledges the work of regional and sub regional groups for confidence building measures. Recently, Uruguay approved the [unclear] American Convention to investigate, secure and gather evidence for cybercrime. We welcome the initiatives that have arisen in the various working groups since we are able to take commitments in the area of cybersecurity, digital technology and telecommunications. Uruguay leads the region when it comes to cybersecurity in four of the IDB model dimensions. We are the first country in the region in accessing technical and financial support from the IDB, Uruguay has reached the level of excellent and cybersecurity maturity for the five dimensions in the Oxford University Cybersecurity Maturity Model. We are also in the front rank of the Americas in the Global Index of Cybersecurity. The digital policy of Uruguay is expressed in the digital Uruguay agenda tool which brings together and monitors priority initiatives for inclusive digital society. It is also aligned with the SDGs with the World Summit on the Information Society and the Digital Agenda for Latin America in the Caribbean. In this agenda one of the key elements, besides considering the strengthening of the telecommunications infrastructure and connectivity is cybersecurity at the national level. Thus, many of the topics to be dealt with in the coming sessions coincide with this national agenda for the same period 2021- 2025. To conclude Chair, for the aforementioned reasons, my delegation commits itself to continue working constructively and jointly for a successful development of the mandate that has been entrusted to us. Thank you very much sir. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you Uruguay for the statement. I now give the floor to the delegation of Cote d’Ivoire, you have the floor please.

Cote d’Ivoire

Thank you Chair.  My delegation would like to at the outset, commend the holding of this first substantive session of the Open-ended Working Group on security of and in the use of ICTs. This group indeed provides us with a transparent, inclusive and democratic framework for discussing a question that is crucial. I would like to extend to you also my warm congratulations on your appointment to lead this work and I’d like to assure you that my delegation is fully ready to play its part and ensuring the mission that is bestowed upon you is successful. I remain convinced that under your wise leadership, we will have constructive and fruitful discussions for this first substantive session. Finally, my delegation aligns itself with a statement made by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement. In my national capacity will make the following comments. Chair, it is undeniable today, particularly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic,that ICTs provide real opportunities to achieve the SDGs more effectively. However, the numerous threats linked to the hijack or malicious use of ICTs both by state and by non state actors, dangerously compromise their safety and security as well as the stability of our societies. Cybercrime, as well as the use of the online space for propaganda for planning and logistics, by terrorist groups, is also a major challenge, in particular for the regions of the Sahel and West Africa. When faced with these security threats, which much like digital technologies, no borders, mobilization and international cooperation remain the best alternative to guarantee a safe, stable and peaceful cyberspace. Cote d’Ivoire is resolutely committed to this particularly within the Open-ended Working Group and fully supports the principles of responsible behavior as defined in this framework. We indeed remain convinced that the application of optional and non binding norms of responsible behavior of states can contribute to increasing the safety and security of the use of ICTs and help prevent potentially harmful uses of ICTs.  My country also reaffirmed its position of principle as regards the applicability of international law in cyberspace, including the UN Charter, international humanitarian law, and international human rights law. This principle needs to be promoted and better clarified during these discussions. Equally, my delegation believes that measures for confidence and transparency can make a useful contribution to improving understanding between different actors in cyberspace and also participate in establishing a more peaceful digital environment. Thus, my delegation is in favor of appointing national contact points to facilitate communication and exchange of information. Moreover, as a developing country Cote d’lvoire is concerned by the assistance needs that some states are facing, or experiencing. We support therefore and strongly so the implementation of capacity building mechanisms for these countries so that we can help them address their vulnerabilities and guarantee safe use of digital technology. Finally, my country is in favor of ongoing regular institutional dialogue under the auspices of the United Nations, which would allow us to bring our views more close together and build trust and step up international cooperation. Chair, this year Cote d’lvoire was a co sponsor of the resolution on progress of ICTs in the context of international security. This is demonstrative of how we prioritize this question. It is also the thinking behind our accession in June 2019 to the Budapest Convention, which is the only internationally binding legal instrument to fight cybercrime. My country is also a signatory, and has been so since September 2019 of the Christ Church Appeal, which seeks to suppress terrorist and extremist content online. In addition, as part of the Francophonie community, Cote d’lovoire organized an international conference on building cybersecurity and cyber defense in the Francophone region in 2016. Chair, Cote d’Ivoire has made promoting safe, reliable and resilient digital technology a national priority and this has been done through a series of measures to regulate and protect Ivorian cyberspace. Thus, we also have strengthening the regulatory framework in terms of security for electronic transactions and information systems, cybercrime, and personal data protection. We have an authority that regulates ICTs and this was established in 2012. Much like the platform for tackling cybercrime. My country also has a National Cybersecurity strategy, which it adopted in 2015 and then revised in 2020. The aim is to effectively tackle cyber crime. In addition since the 29th of January 2020, the Cote d’lvoire Computer Emergency Response Team, which is a center for oversight In response to secure ICT incidents in the Ivorian cyberspace was established as a national focal point for cybersecurity. This center then joined the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams in 2016, and this means that Cote d’Ivoire is the leading country in French speaking West Africa and the second country in the sub region to be a member of this.  Chair, in conclusion, Cote d’Ivoire remains completely committed to international efforts to support open, safe, stable, accessible and peaceful digital technology which contribute to  socio-economic development and the well being of humanity. I thank you very much. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much Cote d’lvoire for your statement. I’ll give the floor to the delegation of Portugal, you have the floor please. 

Portugal 

Mr. Chairman, I have the pleasure of delivering these remarks in the absence of our ambassador for cyber issues, Luis Barreira de Sousa who was not able to travel, Mr. Chairman, for more than 20 years, thanks to the initiative of the Russian Federation in 1998. The international community has been discussing in the framework of the United Nations, whether peace and security in cyberspace are better achieved through the application of the existing international law and norms, or through the adoption of new rules. The common understanding, gradually achieved by seven groups of government experts, and one Open-ended Working Group, is that the international law and voluntary norms that currently regulate the prevention and conduction of state conflicts also apply to cyberspace. In this regard, Portugal upholds the explicit and full applicability of the UN Charter and of the Geneva Conventions, as well as the due diligence principle by which states should endeavor to avoid that the hardware and the software on its territory are directly or indirectly abused by another state to conduct malicious cyber activity against the critical infrastructures of third states. We particularly believe that a codification of the application to cyberspace of the principle of due diligence could be instrumental to stop the exponential increase of ransomware worldwide. Mr. Chairman, the new cycle which these Open-ended Working Group initiates centres on the implementation of the common understanding that I mentioned, should therefore focus on decisive international cooperation to bring all states to an equivalent level of cyber security through a consistent Programme of Action to advance responsible state behavior in cyberspace, such as the one launched by a large number of UN member states last year, including all European member states. Portugal also upholds the applicability to cyberspace of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, namely to the protection of the rights to freedom of expression, regardless of borders. Therefore, we will strive to ensure that investment on technical and legal capacity across the world’s digital divides, can benefit from the benchmarking work done by dedicated intergovernmental organizations like the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise, and the Freedom Online Coalition. In our view, the common understanding that existing international law and norms also apply to cyberspace is not detrimental to the need to adopt further legal instruments to confront new challenges, such as cybercrimes, be they perpetrated by state or non state actors. Portugal therefore supports wholeheartedly the coming negotiation of a UN Convention to combat crimes in cyberspace, and hopes that the lessons learned since 2004 by the state parties to the Budapest convention, will contribute to the drafting of a flexible, but effective, universal instrument. A strong international cooperative efforts in the resilience of the national critical infrastructures of all UN member states, and of the internet core that binds them all together, carried out in compliance with Human Rights International Law, and according to the highest benchmarks, is essential to deter cyber attacks below the threshold of armed conflict. Without these efforts, it will be very difficult to extract all the potential cultural, social, political, and economic benefits from universal access to an open, stable and free cyberspace. Mr. Chairman, the task to steer UN member states towards the full implementation of the common understanding already achieved on the applicability to cyberspace of existing international law and norms will consequently be daunting. But we are reassured that a renowned experienced diplomat has been elected to carry out this task. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much Portugal for the statement. We will now hear a pre-recorded statement from the delegation of Japan. Can we have the statement please. 

Japan 

Thank you, Mr. Chair for giving me the floor. My name is Yutaka Arima. I am the ambassador in charge of cyber policy for the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I would like to begin by congratulating Ambassador and Permanent Representative Burhan Gafoor for his election as chair of the Open-ended Working Group. Japan looks forward to working closely with the Chair for the success of the working group. I would also like to thank the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs for their efforts in convening this session, and in particular High Representative for Disarmament affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu, His Excellency, Ambassador Lauber and His Excellency Ambassador  Guilherme de Aguiar Patriota for their comprehensive and constructive opening statements. Japan has contributed to the work of the OEWG and GGE that culminated in the two reports this spring and looks forward to working with our delegation in this OEWG to achieve the common goal of realizing a free, fair and secure cyberspace. Cyberspace has become an indispensable economic and social infrastructure for all activities, or a public space for all citizens to participate in. This economic and societal transformation has now also made us vulnerable to cyber attacks, which pose a major security risk as the world recently observed in the Colonial Pipeline case this May or the Microsoft Exchange case earlier this year. From a national security standpoint, we are particularly concerned about malicious cyber activities emanating from other states, whether supported by these states or not, damaging critical infrastructures. It is difficult for any one country to respond to these cybersecurity threats alone. Cooperation and collaboration with our ally and like minded countries are paramount to protect and enhance free, open and secure cyberspace. On the issue of how international law applies to the use of ICTs by states, Japan’s position is clear, existing international law applies in cyberspace. We also strongly support the development of voluntary norms of responsible state behavior. As an action-oriented process, it is important for the OEWG to achieve concrete results based on the work so far, including the GGE and only OEWG reports. We should utilize the annual reports to memorialize the achievements of each year’s discussion. Any agreements reached in the discussion should be included in the annual report. Japan also believes the annual report could be used to compile the information related to ICT policies of member states, that are shared within the OEWG. Such information could include how the 11 norms of the GGE report is reflected in domestic measures and capacity building and confidence building measures of each member states. By continuing these efforts for five years, it will be possible to understand the progress of each country’s efforts, which in of itself will be a comprehensive confidence building measure. At the OEWG, as an urgent matter, we must express our strong will to resolutely denounced and oppose cyber attacks by ransomware. Some countries have suffered damage to their critical infrastructures with ransomware attacks. In addition to taking technical measures, it is important to share the efforts including best practices of each country to counter ransomware and send a clear message that the international community is against ransomware. In the OEWG of 2019- 2021, the multistakeholder approach, that included not only state actors but also NGOs and academia, enriched discussions. This OEWG 2021 -2025 should take the same multistakeholder approach. One good example of effective implementation of a multistakeholder approach in the last OEWG was LetsTalkCyber that was held in December 2020. This was an online event to provide an opportunity for non state stakeholders to talk about the agenda of the OEWG. We believe that the accumulation of past discussions including past GGEs and the last OEWG have contributed to the stability and security of cyberspace and will provide the indispensable basis for discussions in this OEWG. Japan hopes that our work here will bear positive fruit consistent with the mandate of UN resolution 75/240. Japan supports a consensus approach in the work of OEWG. We count on the leadership of the chair to encourage all the participants to be engaged in the discussions and to take into account all the views and opinions expressed in the meetings in the annual and final reports. An inclusive approach will produce the best results. Please rest assured that Japan will actively participate in the discussion and will support the chair in close cooperation with other participants to improve global cyber security. Thank you very much. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Japan for the statement, I now give the floor to the delegation of Guatemala. You have the floor please.

Guatemala

Chair for Guatemala, it is an honor to participate in this first session of the Open-Ended Working Group on security of and in the use of information and communication technologies. In this regard, I wish to congratulate you and Master Burhan Gafoor, who is leading the coordination of the agenda for this session. Chair, cyber threats and cyber attacks arise and develop from the various activities which are developed through the interconnectivity of digital media. This is a complexity of conditions which calls for the participation and coordination of all sectors of our countries in order to develop the technical and legal frameworks which will strengthen security, in cyberspace, both nationally and internationally. As in every country, the increase in information and communication technologies has become generalized in all sectors of our societies. Misuse scenario facilitates an unprecedented development of the exchange of information and communications, but at the same time, it means new risks and threats that can affect the security of our populations. My delegation therefore wishes to express its concern at these new technologies, especially because of the civil and double use of cyberspace and digital networks, which can be used by criminal or terrorist groups. It is extremely concerning that several states are developing ICT technologies with military ends, and that the use of these technologies in future conflicts between states is increasingly possible. Chair, Guatemala recognizes that the interconnected complex nature of cyberspace requires joint efforts from governments and private sector, civil society, and the academic world to deal with the challenges of cybersecurity in a comprehensive balanced fashion. We therefore call for upholding transparency and inclusivity in this process. My delegations stresses that the applicability of international law to the behavior of states in cyberspace, including international humanitarian law, as well as voluntary standards, which are non binding for the behavior of states, which are applicable in peacetime, and the implementation of Confidence Building Measures continue to be crucial. In this context, the main priority for my delegation is protecting critical infrastructure and essential services. Besides, after seeing the existing gap between countries when it comes to cybersecurity and defense, Guatemala gives special interest to the efforts to build capacity to find a more level playing field. Chair, Guatemala believes that regional organizations play an indispensable role in establishing peace on the ground, there is a considerable potential to increase their presence in cyberspace in order to innovatively promote the sustainable peace agenda. Regional  and sub regional organizations are focused on improving state security. This has led to major progress in the application of practical Confidence Building Measures in the various regions. To improve cyber stability. There is no doubt that without the contributions of these organizations, efforts to prevent conflicts and stability would be smaller. Guatemala currently has a national cybersecurity strategy, the main purpose of which is to strengthen the country’s abilities to create the environment and conditions needed to ensure the participation development and exercise of people’s rights in cyberspace. It also has a CSIRT which provides auditing services for cybersecurity scanning, vulnerabilities and alert classification. These are both done with the support of the OAS.  Chair, we believe it’s important to establish a mechanism to promote a framework of responsible behavior of states in the use of ICTs as well as monitoring and cooperation for the collective implementation. My Country promotes Confidence Building Measures and transparency and supports the activities to build capacity, exchange information, and disseminate best practices at the sub regional, regional and international levels and ideal mechanism for continue to be the Programme of Action. Guatemala believes this programme could be a permanent, inclusive instrument directed to making progress in concrete cooperation to operationalize this framework and also as a platform to continue discussing its development in the face of growing challenges. Chair we hope our discussion during the speaker in the next five years will contribute positively to tangible objectives in order to guarantee an open free, secure and stable cyberspace. Thank you very much. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Guatemala for the statement, I now give the floor to the Syrian Arab Republic

Syria

Thank you Chair for giving me the floor. Chair, I would like to congratulate you on your election to lead the open ended Working Group on security of an in the use of information and communications technologies for the period 2021-2025. We are confident that your experience will make or facilitate the work of this group very well. My delegation aligns itself with a statement made by the distinguished representative of Indonesia on behalf of the Non-aligned Movement. We also support the intervention made by the distinguished representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran on behalf of a group of countries with the same point of view. My country, Syria, is committed to multipartite serious work. We are amongst one of the countries who adopted the General Assembly resolution that created this working group. This is a step in the right direction and a crucial framework to address this important topic, in line with the provisions of international law and the purpose and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, particularly the principle of sovereign equality and the non interference in internal affairs of states, the non recourse to the threat of or to the use of force and then finally, the peaceful resolution of international disputes. My country’s delegation records the importance of working to ensure that these technologies are not used for criminal purposes, particularly but not exclusively online terrorism, the recruitment of foreign terrorist fighters, the manipulation of young people, and the inculcation of extremist ideas, as well as the spread of hate speech, discrimination, fanaticism, and scorn for religions. These are all elements that lead to violence and destabilization and threaten international peace and security. And some states use cyberspace to violate the sovereignty of other states and to interfere in their internal affairs and destabilize them. Working to fight against the illicit use of these technologies does in no way mean that we should be hindering scientific research or the development of these technologies for peaceful purposes. But on the contrary, it aims to increase the interest in this and foster responsible behavior of states in this field of ICTs so we can ensure a balance between security and development. Now, in terms of capacity building, we would reiterate the importance of providing assistance to developing countries in the relevant fields as well as building effective partnerships between states and this is on all levels so that we can promote such global stability and security. Now, in terms of the organizational questions in terms of participation of non governmental stakeholders, we recognize their role in ensuring a safe and stable and peaceful ICT environment. Here we welcome the decision made by the Chair for the participation of stakeholders in informal meetings in line with the working methods of the previous group. Chair, my country is also in favor of multipartite dialogue on ICT security issues under the aegis of the United Nations. We believe that the common challenges before us provide us with opportunities for cooperation that are a lot more effective than the selfish interests of some countries. In this connection, my delegation would like to focus on the following. Firstly, promoting a open, fair and non discriminatory working environment with a focus on the opportunity for all states and developing countries in particular to have access to ICTs whether this be to produce them or use them. This is really important to bridge the digital divide and achieve the SDGs and development. Also focusing on true multilateralism and working together to make positive steps forward and establish a global mechanism for regular institutional dialogue under the aegis of the United Nations with participation by all states on equal footing, as well as fostering data security, including cross border exchanges, the security of supply chains and the protection of personal data. In addition to this, it’s important to address the challenges and threats that are current and emerging, which to develop capacities for ICTs for military purposes and this is in line with General Assembly resolution 75/240. Also, underscoring the importance of respecting digital sovereignty, human rights and fundamental freedoms in the use of ICTs and also rejecting concepts or values that come from one country or from a group of countries. Chair, developing countries and LDCs are facing a colossal challenge in terms of field of ICTs and cyber crime. This is a growing threat because of unilateral, restrictive measures imposed by the US and the EU on some of these countries, including Syria. Thus, it is becoming impossible for these states to acquire developed software and technological equipment, allowing for better oversight of cyberspace which would then prevent transnational crime networks and terrorist organizations from using this cyberspace for negative purposes, we would call for this to end quickly without condition. In conclusion chair, we reiterate our readiness to actively and positively contribute to the work of our group so that its work can be successful and we can achieve our common objectives and also in order to achieve a document that enjoys consensus in 2025. We would like to reiterate also the need for the host country to engage in constructive and positive approaches and to respect its legal obligations and to issue entry visas that are required for delegations who are participating and so that they can participate easily without condition. Thank you very much. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Syria for the statement, I now give the floor to the delegation of Liechtenstein. 

Liechtenstein 

Our congratulations on the assumption of the chairmanship of the OEWG we will fully support you in in your task. We also want to extend our gratitude to Ambassador Lauber for his excellent stewardship during the previous phase of our work. We are thankful for the thorough preparation and the work that you have done in doing so and that will hopefully set the stage for constructive and informed dialogue during our session. The OEWG provides an inclusive multilateral format for work on aspects of ICT and Security Policy can come together including those in regional organizations, such as the OSCE, initiatives among other groups of states as well as the private sector and civil society. One further potential strand is the initiative for Programme of Action that we support and consider an alternative to advance cybersecurity that can be commensurate to the aspirations to make tangible progress towards compliance with international law and increase collective security and commits to sustain an inclusive dialogue with all relevant stakeholders. The OEWG should adopt a targeted approach, which clearly places the question of cybersecurity into the context of the UN’s core mission to advance peace and security, human rights and sustainable development. Trends towards an increasingly militarized cyberspace, developments in artificial intelligence, pervasive data collection and manipulation as well as cybercrime constitute real security risks to states and to their citizens. They need to be analyzed thoroughly against existing legal framework and addressed comprehensively across all three pillars of the work of the United Nations. The recognition that human rights is a legitimate concern of the international community also constitutes a responsibility for the OEWG to contribute to the implementation of established human rights obligations in cyberspace, including the right to privacy, freedom of expression and freedom of information. Our constituents will also look at this group as a forum to contribute to narrowing digital divides and tap the potential of ICTs for sustainable development and inclusive societies globally. Mr. Chair, the previous report of the OEWG reaffirms the acquis of past agreements. The group could do more to reflect how exactly cyberspace is governed by international law, including the UN Charter in its entirety, international humanitarian law and international criminal law. The obvious problem of ensuring accountability for violations of international law in cyberspace, both from a perspective of state and individual criminal responsibility, and the inherent challenges of attribution linked to it are largely missing from our work so far. We reiterate our position that there is no need to elaborate additional legal obligations in the framework of legally binding instruments. Rather, we should focus our discussions on how to apply existing international law and advance this conversation. Mr. Chair, one of the most pertinent questions in the area of international law is indeed its application to cyberspace. Liechtenstein underscores the importance of upholding the rules based international order and international law in cyberspace. And we see a key role for this group in the promotion of peace and stability in cyberspace. Modern warfare has an inextricable cyber dimension; grave cyber attacks can result in the closure of hospitals, infrastructure, power grids, industries, and result in massive civilian casualties. We need to address such challenges collectively, and look at both the practical and legal challenges arising thereof. The strengthening of norms, rules and principles, on the responsible behavior of states in cyberspace will play a key role in this regard, based on previous agreements within UN and other bodies. We urgently need a framework to harmonize international law in this area, including the expansion of the fight against impunity to the cyber domain, international criminal law and in particular, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court must be included in these analyses. Together with 10 other state parties to the Rome Statute, we have created a council of advisors that helped produce an in depth report on the application of the Rome Statute to cyber warfare. The council reached the unanimous conclusion that the Rome statutes provisions indeed apply to cyber warfare without the need for statutory amendments. We are well aware, of course, that a good number of states have not joined the Rome Statute at this time. But the provisions of this treaty defining the core crimes are largely drawn from existing treaties that are very widely ratified, or else negotiated with universal participation. We will place a particular emphasis on this question as a contribution to the work of this group and look forward to fruitful exchanges on this and other topics in future meetings, I thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Ambassador of Lichtenstein for your statement. I now give the floor to Chile. You have the floor.

Chile

Thank you very much chair. Chile gives great importance to the Open-Ended Working Group on security of and in the use of information and communication technologies in the context of international security, as well as its reports and the reports of the GGE for previous years. We believe that the work achieved during these years as well as the work of this OEWG for the coming five years, are essential in order to successfully face the challenges which cyberspace is presenting us with, particularly in the area of security. At present, we face a complex scenario, where there are thousands of cyber attacks and malicious incidents every day. Many of these affect or could affect our critical infrastructure. Cyber attacks are a real threat to international security. As countries we are responsible for reaching agreements, which will make it possible for us to establish a secure environment for ICTs.   Chair, I would like to now refer to the direct two questions that you sent us for the general exchange of views. Chile believes that we can have an action-focused programme of work to degree that we can work on the implementation of prior agreements. Secondly, we believe that capacity building is an urgent issue since it is strategic as a critical element for progress in implementing prior agreements. Chile believes that creating capacity is a key essential element construct an open safe, stable, accessible and peaceful cyberspace. We believe that this must be a priority as well as the work of regional organizations in this area. It would be important for the open ended working group to promote and strengthen the roles of these organizations when it comes to implementing the recommendations issuing from their reports and the GGE. As we mentioned, at the organizational meeting in June of this year, it is very important for Chile that this process be as open and transparent as possible. We firmly believe that a discussion on ICTs should include the private sector, the academic world, civil society, industry, the technical community and so many others. In the same way, we believe it is important to incorporate gender considerations in the work of the OEWG. In this regard, we wish to thank Canada for its support for women of our region, including Chile to participate in this week’s meeting and future meetings. As Ecuador mentioned, the participation of women in these negotiations goes far beyond simple numbers. Chair, it is not possible to build a safer, stable environment in cyberspace. If we do not guarantee the participation of work of all stakeholders. The more actors are part of the discussion, the more possibilities of achieving results which benefit everybody. We believe that we should be able to hear all stakeholders and for them to present their views and contributions in officials meetings. We have joined the Programme of Action to promote the responsible behavior of states which is being co-sponsored by 40 other countries, it is in order to have specific results where all parties can participate. We hope that these negotiations can make progress with a commitment. Thank you very much. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Chile for the statement. I now give the floor to the delegation of Ukraine.

Ukraine

Mr. Chair, on behalf of the delegation of Ukraine, I would like to congratulate you on your election and express my appreciation to you and your team for all efforts taken for the preparation for the first substantive session of the new OEWG. As we aligned with the EU statement delivered earlier, our delegation would like to make remarks in its national capacity. Ukraine strongly supports the broad participation of stakeholders in the Proceedings of the OEWG. Ukraine agrees that the imperative of building and maintaining international peace, security, cooperation and trust in the ICT environment has never been so clear. Negative trends in the digital sphere could undermine international security and stability, place strains on economic growth and sustainable development, and hindered the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms. These trends include the rise in the malicious use of ICTs. Considering that ICTs can be used for the purposes that are inconsistent with the objectives of maintaining international peace and security, this requires a broad international cooperation that should lead to the most effective responses against existing and emerging challenges in cyberspace. We proceed from the understanding that the group should base its work on the existing acquis while continuing to further develop and advancing the framework for responsible state behavior in cyberspace. On existing and potential threats the OEWG should especially focus on the threats arising from malicious use of ICTs, either by states and non state actors, especially against the critical infrastructure, including the health sector. On norms, rules and principles, we believe that the OEWG could continue exchanges on 11 voluntary and non binding norms rules and principles of responsible state behavior, including their implementation. Ukraine welcomes the reaffirmation by previous OEWG as well as by the GGE that international law is applicable in cyberspace, including the UN Charter. In this regard, the OEWG could further discuss on how international law applies to the use of ICTs by states as well as continued deliberations on the applicability of international humanitarian law international human rights law. We believe that the OEWG should not focus on such controversial and divisive issues as new legally binding instrument or new legal obligations on ICT in the field of international security. That would only hamper the implementation of existing international law. In our view, the OEWG could also consider making valuable recommendations to expand capacity building activities in order to allow more states the development and strengthening of their skills, policies institutions, and to increase the resilience and security thus allowing to enjoy all state the benefits of digital technologies. On regular institutional dialect, Ukraine, as one of co-sponsors of the Programme of Action on the responsible state behavior in cyberspace strongly encourages the OEWG to continue discussing this important initiative. In conclusion, Mr. Chair, Ukraine expresses its readiness to contribute to the discussions and elaboration of recommendations on all OEWG agenda items. I thank you, Mr. Chair. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Ukraine for the statement. I now give the floor to the delegation of China. You have the floor please.

China

Mr. Chairman, colleagues, I’d like to begin by congratulating Ambassador Gafoor assuming the chairmanship of this working group. We trust that under your leadership OEWG will make positive progress. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you, Mr. Chairman and the Secretariat for your hard work leading up to this meeting. Colleagues, the pandemic is propelling digitalization an ICT application. Digital Economy has become a new engine of recovery for countries, data has become a new driving force for innovation and the development of human kind is leapfrogging into a new era of digital civilization. Cybersecurity risks and challenges are rising unabated. Cyber attacks, cyber crime and cyber terrorism pose serious threats to key information infrastructure. Some countries and military blocks have been developing offensive cyber capabilities and sophisticated cyber weapons endangering international peace and security. Faced with intelligence the working group should stay committed to the pursuit of cooperation and peace by formulating international rules governing the cyberspace. shaping a new digital governance order in line with the will and interest of most countries first strengthen unity and cooperation. This year, the OEWG and GGE have successfully concluded that reports. The First Committee has adopted by consensus resolution on information security supporting only OEWG’s work as mandated by resolution 75/240 and this highlights the common desire of international community to strengthen dialogue and cooperation promote the development of international rules for cyberspace. We should practice to multilateralism work together for positive progress in OEWG build an open inclusive UN cybersecurity mechanism with universal participation. The future of the internet should not and cannot possibly be controlled by a handful of countries forming an ideologically exclusive small circle clinging on to ICT monopoly and a cyber hegemony will only hinder multiple efforts more try to efforts to promote cybersecurity. Certain countries have attempted to launch the so called Alliance For the Future of the Internet, which is nothing but the example of attempts to divide the internet, seek technology monopoly, cyberspace hegemony and surpress the science and technology development other countries on to serve their own geopolitical agenda. They claim to build an open internet but in fact, are stirring up confrontation dividing the internet which complete runs counter to internet spiritual peace, security, openness and cooperation under the common interests of international community. Second, maintain peace in cyberspace. The discussion at the working group should stay the course of pursuing peace in cyberspace. Discussion or application of existing international law in cyberspace should at all times be based on the premise of neither encouraging nor legitimizing conflicts. In addition, the application of the principle of sovereignty in cyberspace, an important means to ensure peace, stability and security cyber space, we should approach the issue from all dimensions to flesh it out and leave no stone unturned strengthening international rules on cyberspace. Thanks to the joint efforts of all parties, previous OEWGs and GGEs have successfully reached agreement on multiple reports. We should work to translate existing acquis into politically binding code of conduct for cyberspace and make clear commitments to abide by them. This is crucial for effective implementation. In the long run the international community should also come up with legally binding norms. To this end, China supports the idea of a political commitment based on recommendations, norms and principles already agreed upon as contained in the Programme of Action proposed by a number of countries. Meanwhile, we should, in line with the attributes of ICTs and the needs of evolving situation, discuss the formulation of new norms. Data Security is a prominent new challenge facing all countries based on the mandate of the resolution. Parties should hold in depth discussions on issues of cross border data flow, supply chain security, personal Information protection, explore appropriate responses. China’s global data security initiative could serve as a preliminary basis for discussion for strike a balance between security and development. Cybersecurity and economic development, mutually reinforcing and enabling access to the development of digital and cyber technologies, products and services by all countries, especially developing countries is critical to bridging the digital divide and achieving SDGs. Countries should provide an open fair and non discriminatory business environment. Maintaining cyber security should not hinder countries peaceful use of digital technologies. The consensus arrived at in this year’s GGE report requests all parties to formulate global objective and interoperable supply chain security standards or parties should match their words with these abide by UN consensus. Mr. President, regarding the outstanding organizational issues Working Group China knows with appreciation that many countries and groups of countries expressed in their statements during the general debate support for the chair’s proposal. China always hopes that this working group will follow the precedent set by the first OEWG in dealing with the participation of non governmental stakeholders. Considering the immense efforts the Chair has made to bridge differences and to ensure the smooth conduct of the working group in accordance with his three mandate trying to cause upon relevant countries to show flexibility, refrain from stiring up confrontation and division and avoid negative impact on the substantive discussions of this Member States led intergovernmental process. Colleagues, China has always been constructively engaged in UN cyber security process. We stand ready to work with all country and parties towards positive progress of OEWG Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, China for your statement. I now give the floor to the delegation of Turkey. 

Turkey 

Mr. Chair, I wish to congratulate you on assuming the chairmanship of the Open-Ended Working Group on security of and in the use of information and communication technologies. Turkey aligns itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the EU. We believe that the developments in the field of ICTs impact not only our efforts towards peace and security, but also on human rights work and our progress towards the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. The increasing volume, complexity and severity of threats targeting critical infrastructure requires our full attention. To safeguard the health, finance and energy sectors, we will need to work better and smarter. We will need need to rapidly advance our common understanding of these threats so that we can make informed policy decisions. In order to effectively prevent and counter these threats we need to strengthen national capacities. Of course, no nation can do this alone, and that is what makes the OEWG so crucial. We need to make the best use of our time together here so that we can bolster international cooperation. Mr. Chair, Turkey looks forward to building upon the existing body of work, most notably the final report of the previous OEWG and the consensus GGE reports produced so far. We believe that within this OEWG we should give priority to operationalizing the existing consensus-based rules and norms of response responsible state behavior. We urgently need to further develop a common understanding as to how international law applies to the use of information and communications technologies. To this end we suggest first discussing issues likely to lead to convergence. Furthermore, we need to take a pragmatic approach to implementation. Each member states will have a different experience as the capacity levels and sophistication of cybersecurity, digitalization, infrastructure and resilience vary greatly between member states. Therefore, it would be prudent to take this opportunity to consider measures to bridge these gaps. By identifying appropriate steps now, we will bolster our collective resilience. As such Turkey supports practical measures including increasing exchange of information among Member States, establishing platforms that will serve as communication channels in emergency situations, while also enabling the sharing of information and resources, sharing experiences and best practices, conducting international exercises to increase cybersecurity preparedness and response capacities, developing guidelines for regulatory frameworks and finally prioritizing awareness raising activities. Mr. Chair in conclusion, let me once again emphasize the important role relevant stakeholders can play in enriching our discussions and facilitating the implementation of the existing asquis in this field. We thank you for your proposals, and hopefully, we’ll be able to find a consensus solution to the modalities issue. Mr. Chair, we look forward to working with you and your team throughout this term. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Turkey for your statement. I give now the floor to the delegation of the United States. 

United States 

Good morning, colleagues. Chair, once again we want to congratulate you on your election and your assumption of the chairmanship of this group. We would note that the first substantive session of the new OEWG caps a truly remarkable year. This year we’ve had two substantive consensus reports on cyber issues in the context of international security. The prior OEWG succeeded in involving all interested UN member states in its deliberations. The process led to explicit consensus affirmation of what we have come to call the framework of responsible state behavior in cyberspace, which was originally articulated in the prior GGE reports. The new GGE report also reaffirms the framework and provides a substantial roadmap on how states should interpret and implement the framework’s provisions. In November, the UNGA First Committee passed a resolution by consensus that welcomes both reports and calls on states to be guided in their actions by them. Over 100 countries co-sponsored the resolution. This resolution constitutes a political commitment to be guided by the framework of responsible state behavior. The United States is coming into this OEWG; hopeful and open minded that we can continue to improve our mutual security and the prospects for peace and stability in cyberspace. This year’s consensus resolution had an unequivocal message in this OEWG and that is that member states are expected to build upon the outcomes of the recently concluded work and we indeed, as others have mentioned, have a robust foundation to work from. We must look to the future, but our objectives must be the same: to prevent conflict from arising from states use of ICTs, and to minimize civilian suffering, stemming from the use of ICTs in the conduct of armed conflict when it occurs. We must ensure that as ICT technology progresses, and the international community continues to reap the enormous benefits that ICTs can provide long standing right rights and protections for civilians are not diminished. In terms of priorities for this group, the United States sees an immediate need for implementation of the robust set of recommendations the UN has affirmed. This OEWG should do more work to ensure states understand and have the capacity to uphold the framework to which they have committed. We know there is significant work still to do in this area, but we can’t rest on our laurels. The national security implications of these quickly evolving technologies must be anticipated and assessed according to their future implications for the security of humanity, nor is this the time to make legally binding commitments. We have political commitments now that need to be observed. It does us no use to have legally binding commitments if they are not observed. This OEWG will run until 2025, but these issues need urgent attention. We hope that an action-oriented OEWG can achieve success throughout its duration. By the end of this process, we hope this framework of responsible state behavior that all member states have affirmed will be fully realized. I want to thank the chair and his team for the efforts they’ve undertaken to hold this first substantive session. While an in person meeting is welcome, I know experts from several countries are unable to attend this week, due to the COVID pandemic. I believe we must find a way to keep this OEWG inclusive while benefiting from in person interaction where possible. This inclusiveness must also apply to participation from the multistakeholder community. The United States strongly supports the principles outlined in the recent letter to the chair in this regard. We look forward to working with the chair, his team, all member states and the full multistakeholder community throughout this process. Thank you, Chair. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you United States for the statement. I give now on the floor to the delegation of Poland. 

Poland 

Let me congratulate you again, on assuming this very important, but also challenging role of our shepherd here. Poland starts its work within the framework of this new Open-ended Working Group in a good faith. Poland also fully aligns with the position of the EU as it will be expressed and the member states but let me say a few comments from national perspective. The substance of this process that we are starting here is very complex and it is becoming even more complex every day, perhaps faster than most of the other areas which are subject to the work of the United Nations. Therefore, to come with answers to the challenges we are facing here, quite every day and in most of the countries present here in this room, fast enough, we need all the hands on the board and we need expertise, knowledge, support and involvement of not only governmental administrations, but many other actors who possess these attributes. Cyber security is the most transnational part of security we have ever faced. There is no one secure country if the other countries are not secure. This is also the most trans sectorial part of security, there is no sectors which are free from threats and malicious activities, while the others are under attack. In order to come with answers, we need to be exclusive and I hope that we can quickly agree on what is the best way to secure a substantial and valuable participation of multi stakeholders in an open and transparent way. At the same time, it is clear that all final decisions are taken here by the representatives of the governments. But the very same situation we have back home in many countries, or governments take decisions on the national legislations, national instruments, tools, resources to deal with the cyber related threats, yet in the process of preparing sides of decisions, they engage multi stakeholders to make use of their knowledge, their experience and their resources. Last week Poland was happy to host the Internet Governance Forum in Katowice: a UN process in which a huge number of representatives from academia, NGOs and private sector participated bringing into discussions a lot of added value and reaching significantly many discussions and their results. Mr. Chair, our work does not start from scratch. We have here successfully adopted reports of the first Open-ended Working Group and also of the last GGE. They constitute a very important point of reference, which cannot be wasted. Moreover, we have a legacy of many years of hard work, initiated in 1998 as stressed here many times by the Russian Federation, in this area, which resulted in numerous significant achievements, like agreeing by consensus by the General Assembly on the set of norms. Poland strongly believes that these norms along with the UN Charter and the entire international law fully apply to the cyberspace and shall be observed. Therefore we should focus on operationalization and implementation of the principles of the international law and agreed norms. Poland also believes that implementation of the international law and norms goes hand in hand and is interlaced with the capacity building and the Confidence Building Measures. Capacity building is an urgent matter. Many of the member states participating in the works of the Open-ended Working Group have at this moment limited capacities to defend their cyberspace and to mitigate threats coming from it. It is our duty to help such capacities, not only in the spirit of solidarity, which is very dear to history and tradition of Poland, but also because it is in our best common interest. As I stressed earlier, cyber threats have no borders, and they can come to any of us through long and winding roads, affecting numerous countries on the way and causing damages to many other countries in the same time. Therefore enhancing capabilities on a large scale require wide and coordinated efforts bringing together resources from different countries, from governments and non governmental actors together. In this context, Poland sees the Programme of Action as a potentially very useful instrument complementary to our work here in the Open-ended Working Group. Poland equally sees the implementation and the importance of CBMs in cyberspace. We cannot operationalize and implement principles of the international law and norms without certain level of mutual trust. We believe that inclusiveness and transparency of our processes within the Open-ended Working Group is an important CBM itself. So is coordinated and transport capacity building. Finally, Mr. Chair, I wanted to stress the importance of the existing and future experiences coming from regional formats. Regional formats allow, also to identify better specific threats or specific needs in capacity building. Regional efforts are promoting cooperation between states and therefore they are a CBM itself. As of January 1st 2022, Poland will assume the chair in office role was in the OSCE. So it’s not a surprise that I’m recalling experiences of this organization here. Over years, OSCE worked out 16 CBMs. Poland’s priorities in cybersecurity for the work of the OSCE next year are focused on enhancing societal resilience by increasing social awareness of threats coming from the cyberspace and promoting cyber education. But Poland is also seeking to promote within the OSCE positive results of the concluded works of the GGE and Open-ended Working Group, particularly when it comes to the set of norms. We believe that two-way sharing information and best practices between the United Nations and the regional organizations will serve well all the states and the international community in general. Mr. Chair, as for the future, Poland will strive towards ensuring international security in cyberspace by pursuing ideas, values, projects and proposals, which in our view, can contribute to achieving the goal. Implementation of the elements we will be agreeing upon in the next years will be a challenge and will take patience. So it is crucial that we stay committed, constructive and determined to provide effective and full security in cyberspace for the good of all of us. Mr. Chair, you can count on Poland to support you and your team in guiding us through this process. I thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much Poland for your statement. I give now the floor to the delegation of the Philippines. 

Philippines 

Thank you, Mr. President. At the outset, I wish to congratulate you on your election and to assure you our full support. The Philippines supports the OEWG’s important role as the inaugural multilateral inclusive intergovernmental body to address comprehensively ICT in the context of international security. We view the process of OEWG as important in building national capacities and human resource competencies and in promoting international cooperation, which is the most effective way to address cross border cybersecurity issues and their complexities. We acknowledge the importance of strides already achieved by OEWG. In this regard we thank Ambassador Lauber of Switzerland for successfully steering the work of OEWG and the outcomes of substantive report, which contains important conclusions and recommendations that we should build on. The Philippines was pleased to be part of the consensus on the adoption of the report as it covered a number of our views on critical issues such as addressing existing and potential threats; the applicability of rules norms and principles for responsible state behavior; our common understanding of international law in the subject of cybersecurity; and best practices and confidence building measures, capacity building, and regular institutional dialogue. The National Cybersecurity plan of the Philippines mandates securing critical ICT infrastructure, while ensuring personal data privacy and confidentiality. It is important that our information infrastructure, or info structure, is resilient, robust and secure against cyber threats. Within this framework, I wish to highlight our positions on some of the agenda issues before us. With increased dependence on ICTs in providing vital government services, disseminating essential information, including commerce and healthcare systems, we should continue to build resilience against existing and potential threats to our privacy and security. Malicious activities in cyberspace are not only designed to attack individuals, but also aim to impair both national critical infrastructure and critical information infrastructure that support delivery of these services to the public. We continue to underscore the importance of the application of international law and the UN Charter which govern the actions and relations between states and on the 11 voluntary and non-binding norms, which provide additional guidance of the standard of the international community of what constitutes responsible state behavior in cyberspace. Developing further rules of behavior in cyberspace will contribute to confidence building by increasing transparency in cooperation between states and for reducing the risk of conflict. Developing countries such as the Philippines count on capacity building as an enabler for all states to contribute to increase stability and security globally. Such capacity building efforts must be sustainable, evidence based, demand driven, politically neutral, transparent and accountable. It must also respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, be gender sensitive and inclusive, and universal and non discriminatory. To facilitate robust and inclusive discussions we hope that the regular institutional dialogue that we established through OEWG will provide opportunities to further develop and operationalize our global framework cooperative measures to address cybersecurity threats. In this respect, we envision advancing common understandings, exchanging lessons learned and good practices on implementation, building confidence and increasing capacity among states. Mr. President, in this time of uncertainty states as well as the private sector, scientists and other actors have leveraged and continue to leverage digital technology to keep individuals and societies connected and healthy. The pandemic and the corresponding life adjustments we’ve had to make have dramatically increased the value of cyberspace and internet connectivity in our lives. More than ever, our discussions in this working group will be most relevant and far reaching. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Ambassador to the Philippines for your statement, I now give the floor to the delegation of Germany. 

Germany 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Honorable Chair, distinguished colleagues, Germany aligns itself with the statement of the European Union, delivered yesterday, and would like to add a few remarks in a national capacity. It is more important than ever to maintain constructive dialogue in this Open-ended Working Group, given the dynamics we are currently seeing in cyberspace. The newly elected German government has recognized this development and has put cyber security high on Germany’s political agenda. The recently concluded coalition agreement, which will govern federal government work for the coming years, underlines the significance of strengthening the framework of responsible state behavior in cyberspace based on the application of existing international law, which stands at its core. Building upon the areas of consensus as identified by the reports of the Open-ended Working Group, and the Group of Governmental Experts, we should work together closely in this group to achieve a more robust and effective framework. We should use this Open-ended Working Group to collectively think of ways to advance the implementation of the consensus framework, and to build a stronger UN role as a contributor to more security and stability in cyberspace. Cyber capacity building is key in this regard. As countries capabilities to prevent, detect and respond to cyber threats differ strongly. We are convinced that enhancing coordination efforts and pooling resources is critical. The UN has a role to play in this crucial field, and we look forward to exploring in this group, how this role could be exactly defined. The initiative for a Programme of Action co-sponsored by 54 States including Germany, is a concrete proposal in this context, as it could make an important contribution to support tailored capacity building, develop exchanges of best practices, and to foster meaningful multistakeholder engagement. Confidence Building Measures are another important element of implementation, as they reduce the risk of interstate conflict stemming from the use of ICTs. In this regard, communication and dialogue are essential for enhancing transparency and trust among states. Listening to delegations during this gentle exchange of views, has made it clear that we have broad consensus for advancing implementation of the framework of responsible state behavior, both via the capacity building and the confidence building track. Germany looks forward to sharing concrete ideas on these two tracks in the dedicated sessions later on this week. Moreover, Germany would like to emphasize the pivotal role existing international law plays in the cyber context. In the five-year period ahead, we should build on the consensus that existing international law applies in the context of cyberspace and further develop our shared understanding of the modalities of how international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights law applies in the cyber context. Germany looks forward to substantiated, inclusive and transparent discussion on these important matters in this group, including a more meaningful and substantial exchange with non governmental stakeholders, and bearing in mind that we are dealing with a constantly evolving picture of technological development, and associated new challenges to international security and stability. Germany will contribute actively to producing concrete results in this Open-ended Working Group. The German delegation stands ready to support you honorable chair, in advancing our journey towards a more robust and effective framework of responsible state behavior, as well as substantial implementation measures that make a real contribution to stability and security in cyberspace. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much, Germany for your statement, I now give the floor to the delegation of Latvia. 

Latvia 

Mr. Chair, Latvia aligns itself with the statement by European Union. At the outset, Latvia would like to express its appreciation for your efforts to prepare this substantive first session of the open ended Working Group on security of and in the use of information and communication technologies. Let me assure you a full cooperation of my delegation throughout our deliberations. As we embark upon this new process until 2025 we should focus on seeking better understanding and operationalization of the outcomes of previous work within the UN framework. Latvia firmly believes that the OEWG should build upon the results achieved by the first Open-ended Working Group, as well as the Group of Governmental Experts. The consensus-based reports of both OEWG and GGE constitute common ground among the member states, and serve as guiding principles for responsible state behavior in cyberspace. In particular, we would like to underline the need to strengthen common understanding and support for further implementation of existing international norms and rules inside cyberspace, as endorsed by UNGA on multiple occasions. Furthermore, we should continue exploring options regarding practical implementation of confidence building measures in the context of international cybersecurity. Mr. Chair, let me also outline a few other elements which will guide my delegation’s approach to our discussions not only this week, but also during the work of the OEWG as a whole. First, Latvia joints those who advocate for implementation of multistakeholder approach in a way which would ensure meaningful participation of non-governmental actors in the formal work of the OEWG. Latvia believes that it would be a missed opportunity not to fully leverage the expertise of a wider community of factors all united in a common goal of open, secure and peaceful ICT environment. Latvia is among the countries which signed an open letter on this matter addressed to you, Mr. Chair, which outlines several proposals on the potential way forward on this issue. In light of the discussions we had yesterday, we would like to particularly highlight the importance of transparency when it comes to potential unilateral objections to accreditation requests. Second, I would like to reiterate that within every phase of the work of the OEWG Latvia will continue to prioritize the importance of full respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in cyberspace. For us, these principles are integral part of the efforts to promote a more secure cyberspace. Third, we attach great importance to the Programme of Action to advance responsible state behavior in cyberspace, which was noted in the consensus reports adopted this year by the OEWG and the GGE. Latvia would like to highlight the need to further elaborate that proposal on the POA which would constitute complementary line of effort to the OEWG. We believe that POA can serve as solid and most importantly action oriented basis for further work to make tangible progress in the implementation of the norms of respect responsible behavior, thus contributing to international peace and security in cyberspace. Finally, let us use the OEWG process meaningfully to further strengthen international cooperation towards an open, stable, peaceful and secure cyberspace, where human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law fully apply. Mr. Chair, I would like to conclude by once again congratulating you with your first substantive session of the OEWG and wishing you success in leading our deliberations. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much, Latvia. For your statement. I give now the floor to the delegation of Israel. 

Israel 

Thank you, Mr. Chairperson. As this is the first time Israel takes the floor, we would like to start by congratulating you on your election and to express the Israeli delegations gratitude and appreciation for the hard work and great efforts you Chair and the Secretariat have invested in organizing and steering this process and to wish you much success in your daunting task. Israel attaches importance to the work of the Open-ended Working Group and stands ready to contribute its perspective and share its know how and expertise. Rest assured that you will have Israel’s full support for achieving serious and productive discussions. Israel attaches great importance to global security and stability in cyberspace, and supports the international efforts aimed to enhance global cyber resilience. Israel believes that an open free and vibrant cyberspace is of vital importance for global prosperity in the 21st century. To protect these values of openness and innovation, strong cybersecurity and extensive international cooperation are imperatives. Israel would like to welcome and acknowledge the significant and valuable work achieved through the UN GGE processes in the past and the successful outcome of the previous Open-ended Working Group. This acquis should continue and serve as the basis for our future for any future deliberations. With respect to the applicability of the international law to cyberspace, and the implementation of existing, voluntary, non-binding norms on responsible state behavior in cyberspace we are aware that the order in which these issues are referenced in the document does not reflect a hierarchy among them. In our view, confidence building and capacity building represent more fruitful terrain for discussion that can improve global security in a practical way. Against this backdrop, existing international law provides the relevant legal framework and as states increasingly shared their views on how it applies to cyberspace, in different fora, it will be important to adopt a careful, incremental approach. Similarly, with respect to norms, it is important first to gain a better understanding not just of what they mean, but how they have transpired in practice. This can inform discussions in the longer term as to the potential necessity of new norms. We also strongly believe that in order to advance jointly the goal of stability and security, the Open-ended Working Group and outcomes should continue to be consensus-based. Mr. Chair, Israel as a small nation is proud to serve as an international high tech hub and a leader in cybersecurity. The Israeli ecosystem attracted more than $7 billion in private investment in 2021 and is a home to more than 100 multinationals and over 400 startups conducive for its cybersecurity innovation activity, and sprung eight new cyber unicorns in 2021 alone. Part of Israel’s success in this sphere is its advanced technological ecosystem, complemented by a robust domestic legal system based on the rule of law and human rights and an economic environment, supportive of innovation and investment. The cyber domain poses global challenges that should be faced with global interstate efforts. Both robust international engagement and cooperation are essential as well. Israel seeks to harness its strength in cybersecurity to promote global cyber resilience and offer cooperation based on shared values and trust. In this context, Israel stresses the importance of core elements, such as practical cooperation, confidence building and capacity building. Mr. Chair, nonetheless, we witnessed how cyber risk and threats are on the rise as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic. More interactions and operations move online, further blurring the boundaries between public and private and expanding the activity surfaces. Cyber offensive operations are becoming more sophisticated, and malicious actors are becoming more brazen. Ransomware attacks turned into a global pandemic that targets also essential services including hospitals, and the health system, while causing enormous economic losses. The technological landscape is becoming more interconnected and embedded in all areas of our lives, while the cyber workforce isn’t growing as fast as the demand. All of these create ever growing strategic, national and international challenges and threats. Preparing for them and mitigating them will require will, vision, action and more cooperation across organizations sectors and borders. To conclude, Mr. Chair, Israel considers cybersecurity capacity building and confidence building measures as a key element and stands ready to support the practical and action-oriented proposals, which are aimed to increase capacity and resilience of states to advance responsible state behavior in cyberspace. And last but not least, as to the modalities of our work in the Open-ended Working Group, Israel supports an open and inclusive dialogue, which includes all relevant stakeholders participation in the discussions. Israel is looking forward to work with all of you for a successful, meaningful and implementable outcome. Thank you, Mr. Chair. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Israel for your statement. I give now the floor to the delegation of Ireland. 

Ireland 

Thank you chair. Ireland aligns itself with a statement delivered by the European Union. We look forward to constructively engaging with all member states and supporting you chair during this OEWG to progress the work of this group to advance our shared goal of a secure and stable cyberspace, one that contributes to protecting international peace and security. At this OEWG, Ireland will be guided by the principles that inform all of our work at the UN in support of multilateral rules based frameworks. We will promote and defend a cyberspace that is secure, open, free and accessible. That supports social and economic development and strongly respects human rights and fundamental freedoms. In our view, cybersecurity and human rights should be seen as complementary, mutually reinforcing and interdependent. Yesterday, I underlined Ireland’s strong support for broad multistakeholder engagement at the OEWG we look forward to working with you and all member states to agree the practical modalities to enable their meaningful participation and note the proposals you have put forward in this regard. Ireland also believes that hybrid meeting formats facilitate and promote better and broader engagement by both state and non-state stakeholders, not least during this difficult and challenging phase of the pandemic for all states. Throughout the COVID 19 pandemic, we have been constantly reminded of our increasing reliance on ICTs, but also of our vulnerabilities. Ireland has experienced this at firsthand. Our public health care IT systems were subjected to a damaging ransomware cyber attack earlier this year, maliciously targeting the sick and most vulnerable at the height of the pandemic. Critical infrastructure, including health care, must be protected from malicious ICT threats and actors. We support initiatives by partners to prevent a recurrence of this attack anywhere else in the world. The OEWG and GGE reports agreed this year and earlier GGE reports provide us with a strong base from which to carry forward our work. We must build on the consensus achieved and that is grounded in the application of existing international law and norms of responsible state behavior in cyberspace. We repeat our view communicated at the previous OEWG that urgent action requires a focus on the solid foundations that already exist, and not on potentially divisive proposals for new legally binding instruments. At this OEWG, Ireland looks forward to focusing strongly on advancing the practical implementation of the voluntary norms of state behavior, including through elaborating and providing additional guidance when necessary. We will also support actions that promote greater understanding of the application of international law, including the UN Charter in its entirety, and international humanitarian and human rights law to states’ actions in cyberspace. We intend to directly contribute to these discussions by publishing a paper on Ireland’s views early next year, and we look forward to engaging with many more states in this issue as more national positions are published. Capacity building will be essential in delivering real progress on both of these key objectives to build understanding and to address the barriers for practical implementation. We advocate for focused discussion on this at this OEWG. To ensure the specific needs are identified and concrete solutions delivered to build capacity and support the faster and more effective implementation of the framework for responsible state behavior. Our goal must be to ensure stronger cyber resilience for all states. The Programme of Action signed by Ireland and many states will seek to complement the work of this OEWG, delivering practical support in areas including capacity building, to drive the implementation of the acquis and strengthen global cyber resilience for all. We must also build on the progress measures made at the previous OEWG to address the gender digital divide, including through capacity building. Ireland broadly supports the options proposed by Canada in particular the proposal for a session of the OEWG focused on gender. Meeting to assess and identify solutions to address this issue at an early stage will help promote the mainstreaming of gender issues into broader OEWG discussions. The OEWG can contribute to making positive and tangible progress in this area. Ireland also supports greater strategic engagement by this OEWG with regional and sub regional organizations to further build on the impressive progress already achieved by these organizations in developing confidence building initiatives. Chair, we look forward to expanding on some of these issues in our discussions later this week and I assure you once more of our ongoing support. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you Ireland for your statement. I give now the floor to the delegation of the Netherlands. 

The Netherlands 

Thank you chair. The Netherlands aligns itself with the statements delivered by the European Union. Mr. Chair, at the outset, I would like to again congratulate you upon your assumption as chair of this Open-ended Working Group. I firmly believe that under your able leadership, we can achieve significant progress. Please be assured of my delegation’s full support. I would also like to thank Under Secretary General Izumi Nakamitsu for her opening remarks, which provide us with continued guidance and support. Finally, our deep appreciation goes out to Ambassador Lauber and Ambassador Patriota for their skillful chairmanship over the past few years. I’m convinced that the transparent and inclusive manner by which they approach their tasks were instrumental in the successful and complimentary outcomes we achieved together. All states were able to engage in the Open-ended Working Group, many of whom were represented by women diplomats.  The GGE held regional as well as informal consultations with the wider UN membership, and essential engagements took place with the private sector, civil society and academia. While the primary focus of our work is only international security, this wider engagements highlighted the importance of our work to all three pillars of the United Nations; peace and security; sustainable development; and human rights. ICTs are a catalyst for the international community’s efforts to achieve the sustainable development goals. We should harness this by closing the digital divide, and by ensuring a resilient cyberspace that allows for the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Because in the end, malicious cyber activities, whether they are conducted against hospitals, energy networks, or financial institutions always affect real people, often vulnerable people. They reduce trust in digital technologies and services, and for economic growth and impact international peace and stability. Mr. Chair, in our view, the latest Open-ended Working Group and GGE reports form an important milestone. They are substantively rich and politically balanced. The OEWG reaffirms the UN framework for responsible state behavior. It enriched the framework with further clarity and pertinent new findings in response to common challenges. These included several elements that were important to my country, including with regards to the protection of the health care sector, as well, as well as the technical infrastructure essential to the general availability or integrity of the internet that today has been upheld successfully thanks to the multistakeholder community. The GGE in turn, also reaffirms the acquis and further elaborated on many elements of previous reports. It added much needed clarity and practical guidance for the considerations of states. Together, these complementary reports help us further understand the rules of the road, encourage restraint and provide concrete recommendations on how states can cooperate to prevent conflict in cyberspace. The progress made has been cemented through the recently adopted General Assembly consensus resolution 76/19. That’s called upon States to be guided in their use of ICTs by the two reports. The Netherlands is proud to support the common US-Russian resolution as an initial co-sponsor, along with many other member states. After looking back at what we have achieved, let me now turn to our way ahead. Malicious uses of ICTs by states and non-state actors continue to increase in sophistication and impact. The Netherlands will therefore continue to advance the rules based order in cyberspace based on the applicability of international law, including human rights law and international humanitarian law. In addressing the continuing challenges, the Netherlands is of the view that the Open-ended Working Group should be result oriented by facilitating practical cooperation and dialogue based on the guidance of the previous reports. For example, more states can make known their views on how existing international law applies, establish clear mechanisms to notify one another in case of an ICT incident and further develop ways to responsibly report vulnerabilities. At the same time Chair, we cannot forego the fact that increasing cyber resilience is challenging, and resource intensive. Many states have expressed policies and need for international cooperation and capacity building. To that end, the Netherlands is among a broad group of 54 co sponsors to support the proposal noted in the OEWG report to support the capacities of states through a practical mechanism known as the Programme of Action. We would like to further discuss this initiative with all states and relevant stakeholders, including within the Open-ended Working Group. Chair, the Netherlands will listen and engage constructively with all delegations in order to make tangible progress towards a more open, free, secure, stable, accessible, interoperable and peaceful cyberspace. Please allow me to reiterate my delegation’s full support. Thank you.  

Ambassador Gafoor  

Thank you very much, Netherlands for the statement. We’ll take one more speaker before we adjourn and I call upon the delegation of the United Kingdom. You have the floor please. 

United Kingdom 

Mr Chair, in just two years time during this new Open-ended Working Group, we will look back on a quarter of a century of UN work to uphold international peace and stability in cyberspace. Since colleagues first sat together here in New York in 1998, there have been positive outcomes and there have been difficult times. We strongly welcome the two consensus reports and the single resolution secured this year. But in our support for these outcomes, we should not overlook the very real challenges at hand in making progress. We are not all on the same path. And we lacked the trust necessary to forge ahead in the manner some may hope. We may experience them differently, but the threats to international peace and security from the misuse of technology, including any existing and future conflicts and outside of conflict situations, remain of primary concern to the UK. Just because we are united in our concerns about the continued, irresponsible nature of some state activity in cyberspace, that the UK will actively participate in this Open-ended Working Group. Mr. Chair, your guiding questions ask us how we can be action orientated and deliver results. You are right to push us beyond general statements into practicalities, and is only here that we will find those areas of convergence your own delegation highlights. In just the last few years, we have secured two great achievements together: we have broadened the understanding of our work in a way that is accessible to all, from developing countries to great powers, from technical experts to seasoned diplomats; and we have drilled down further drawing on our shared expertise to generate new agreements. And we have done it all by consensus, bringing everyone with us as we make progress. But as the Korean delegation highlighted, there is a mismatch between what is expected of us – what we have agreed by consensus – and what is happening. Because of this, the next step we take together must be as substantive and significant as those that went before and it must deliver tangible change. At home my government is currently pursuing a policy of leveling up that works to reduce disparities between regions, bringing everyone up to the same higher living standard. Following a rush of global digitalization, we have heard from many that levelling up is the most urgent challenge we face in securing cyberspace. Levelling up is what an action oriented process can deliver. We must embed equally all four elements of the framework that we have agreed together over the last 20 years into common practice across all UN member states. We encourage all states to put forward proposals to turn the recommendations already agreed in our substantial acquis into reality and the UK will do just that in each section of our discussion. Despite this core focus, we cannot lose sight of new and emerging challenges to peace and security in cyberspace. If this group is to find its way towards steps we can take together in future to build on our framework and ensure it remains relevant, a shared picture of the threats we face will be key. We must look forward and identify how we can continue our cooperation against the most severe threats even where trust is lacking. That shared picture will be found when we drill down into the threats we all face from irresponsible state behavior in the use of ICTs and this is the foundation of our cooperation. Mr. Chair, however challenging it may feel at times we know that there is more that unites us than divides us in this context. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much UK for the statement. We will now adjourn the meeting as I announced at the outset. We will have an informal meeting at conference room four at 1:15pm. And as I mentioned also at the outset, please note that the seating capacity of this conference room four is limited. I would therefore encourage delegations to organize themselves in order to be able to participate in the discussions on modalities for stakeholders. I’d like very much to get an update from the different delegations who have been engaged in informal consultations and I look forward to hearing those updates. Thank you very much and the meeting will resume at 3pm in conference room one, two and three. So we are back to conference room one, two and three at 3pm. The meeting is adjourned.

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