Session 1-9 Transcript
(OEWG 2021-25)

This is an unofficial transcript of a UN session.

Ambassador Gafoor 

Morning distinguished delegates. The ninth meeting of the first substantive session of the Open-Ended Working Group on security of and the use of information and communication technologies 2021 to 2025 is called to order. This morning, as I indicated yesterday, we will continue our discussions on sub-item under agenda five, agenda item five, relating to capacity building. And under this sub-item, I have two remaining speakers who have inscribed and I’d like to invite the delegation of Australia to make its intervention. Australia please. 

Australia 

Thank you Chair. I would like to align with almost everything that has been said under this topic, and will therefore be quite brief in my remarks. As I have said, it is only by coordinated and targeted capacity building to ensure all states are in a position to implement and adhere to our commitments to the framework of responsible state behavior, that we can make progress towards a more open, secure, stable and peaceful cyberspace and to be in a position to face the known and unknown threats that our global future community will face. Australia supports greater mobilization of resources in support of cyber capacity building, we can be precise on what we want it to focus on: capacity building to support recommendations from the 2021 GGE and 2021 OEWG reports. And taking into account and guided by the specific principles for cyber capacity building agreed in the 2021 OEWG report, as was noted by Thailand. There are several practical issues that this Open-Ended Working Group can focus upon in making progress in cyber capacity building. Firstly, the two way nature of cyber capacity building. Secondly, the essential role of the private sector to build the link between technical and policy communities. I was particularly interested in and supportive of the idea from Indonesia for capacity building to assist states to understand and engage with the multistakeholder community. Matching of capacity building needs and providers, we are seeing the need for coordinated and appreciation of capacity to absorb capacity building. The survey of national implementation could assist in this regard. Capacity building to increase the understanding of international law and its applicability in cyberspace. Also supporting gender centered approaches to capacity building, deliverables must be visible and discernible and aimed at ensuring participation of women, and also aligning with the points made by The Netherlands yesterday, we could be expanding our focus on diversity to include other aspects of social inclusivity. And finally, the importance of any evidence-based approach. This can be effected through use of the survey of national implementation that I spoke about in regard to norms. Australia strongly supports capacity building directed to encourage meaningful engagement with these discussions, for example, the Women In Cyber Fellowship. I’m also very keen to hear more from Singapore on its fellowship proposal as well. Finally, Australia aligns in particular with the statements of France and Egypt as regards the potential for the Programme of Action proposal to make a real difference in the cyber capacity building implementation. Thank you, Chair. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much Australia for your statement. I give now the floor to the Czech Republic to be followed by Brazil. Czech Republic please. 

Czech Republic 

So thank you, thank you, Mr. Chair. We align ourselves with the EU statement, which hilighted a number of important capacity building initiatives, including the GFCE. In response to your guiding questions for this agenda item, I would like to make three practical suggestions of what the Open-Ended Working Group could do to advance cyber capacity building. First, to implement capacity building guiding principles adopted in the previous Open-Ended Working Group, notably those calling for need-based, demand-driven and context specific capacity building. We could, as a priority, undertake the survey based on a template proposed by Australia and Mexico. This would allow us to systematically assess gaps in implementation and design capacity building programs that are responsive to the needs and demands of all UN member states. Second, we propose that the Open-Ended Working Group should prioritize increasing resilience of civilian critical infrastructure from cyber threats. Developments outside of this room demonstrate that urgent action is needed to protect essential services to the public from disruptions. Our discussions in the past few days also affirmed this is a cross regional priority. To advance this topic dedicated Open-Ended Working Group thematic sessions could be held in the next three years to exchange best practices on how to protect different types of infrastructure highlighted in the previous report of the Open-Ended Working Group, including the private core of the internet or the healthcare sector. Third, the Open-Ended Working Group could recommend mainstreaming of the cybersecurity into the UN Digital Development Agenda across the UN system. Bridging digital gaps is extremely important to the Czech Republic. But they must also ensure that digital transformation doesn’t create new vulnerabilities. We should therefore think of cyber resilience from the start, rather than as an afterthought. Practically speaking, linking cyber capacity building to the UN digital development agenda would also allow us to tap into UN development funds to finance specific activities. Mr. Chair, in terms of capacity building, we have reaffirmed ourselves many times it is absolutely key to increasing cyberspace resilience. I myself mentioned it a couple of times in previous thematic panels this week. I’m convinced that now is the time for action. I would like to use this opportunity to voice that the Czech Republic is ready to assist in this regard, I would like to call on countries that feel the need to reinforce capacity building, let us to work together. We have already started working with some, but we would like to further develop and expand our cooperation. And I would like to emphasize that the Czech Republic always pointed out that capacity building is a two-way street endeavor, where we can learn from one another. And undertaking the survey at the global level is one practical way to advance this commitment. Thank you, Mr. Chair. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Czech Republic. The last speaker for the sub-item is Brazil. You have the floor please. 

Brazil 

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Alongside the development of CBMs, and a set of norms, rules and principles to guide state behavior, capacity building is one of the three pillars on which a peaceful and stable, digital environment is based. Differences in capabilities in the development and use of ICT reinforce the digital divide and perpetuate inequalities, therefore increasing vulnerability in an interconnected world. As a country that both receives and provides cooperation in this field, Brazil also emphasizes that capacity building efforts are a two-way street in that, in that they tend to provide tangible benefits to all parties involved. They also contribute to reinforcing trust in the digital era. Being guided by the recommendations of the past GGEs and OEWG which provide principles to cooperation on this front. This OEWG should continue to examine specific measures related to international cooperation and assistance that may concretely enable states to secure ICT and ensure their peaceful use by increasing their resilience to attacks for exploits and by improving their capacity for cooperation and collective action. In this sense, the group should give particular attention to measures which contribute to protecting and improving the security of existing systems and ensure that critical infrastructures are resilient to security threats. In addition, it should be stressed the importance of sharing knowledge about security threat mitigation. Given the considerable progress already made by many regional organizations in promoting cooperation in the cybersecurity domain, as pointed out by many delegations, the regional dimension is of central importance for capacity building efforts and shall remain so for the foreseeable future. The OEWG should provide a specific platform for cross regional dialogue, enabling a most welcome exchange of regional views and cooperation on cybersecurity. One of the possible contributions for the OEWG in this regard could be to recommend the establishment of a capacity building coordination mechanism to help match needs and available resources. Given the prominent role played by the private sector, which owns and operates most of the world’s ICT infrastructures, as well as the expertise of academia and civil society, such a mechanism should be structured with a view to harnessing and optimizing contributions by all relevant stakeholders. Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much, Brazil. That was the last speaker on sub-item under agenda item five, relating to capacity building. Distinguished delegates, we have concluded this sub-item, I would now like to proceed to agenda item three, organizational matters. And as I had indicated earlier, I’d like to provide an update on where we are with regard to discussions on stakeholder participation. I will make some remarks to share my assessment of where we are. And then I’d like to open the floor and invite comments or statements from delegations if they so wish to take the floor. And then after that, we will go back to agenda item five to discuss the sub-item on regular institutional dialogue. So, distinguished delegates, I’d like to give all of you an update on the issue of modalities for the participation of stakeholders in the Open-Ended Working Group. First, I’d like to inform you that I have been engaged in intensive, informal consultations throughout this week to try and find a consensus solution on modalities for the participation of stakeholders. Since the beginning of the week, I’ve had informal meetings every day, with all interested delegations. The informal consultations were held in the morning before our formal meetings, at lunchtime, and also in the evenings. After extensive consultation with member states, I sent a letter to all delegations on Monday 13 December to convey a seven point proposal on modalities for stakeholder participation. My impression was that my seven point proposal was well received by some delegations. But the text was not satisfactory for other delegations. Accordingly, I came to the conclusion that my seven point proposal, as I outlined it on Monday 13 December, was not sufficient to command consensus support from all delegations. On Wednesday 15 December, after several more rounds of informal consultations, I wrote another letter to all delegations to circulate a revised proposal on modalities for stakeholder participation. I put forward the revised proposal as a compromise formulation to find a consensus solution and move the process forward. Since I put forward the proposal on Wednesday, I’ve continued to engage in further informal consultations with all interested delegations. I wish to say that I’m encouraged by the reactions I’ve heard to my revised proposal. Secondly, I wish to state that my revised proposal of 15 December remains on the table as a potential compromise to find a consensus solution. I should also say that no member state has objected to my revised proposal of 15 December. I find this situation encouraging. I know that my revised proposal does not entirely satisfy the preferences of all delegations. There are some delegations that want more.  There are some delegations that want less. I want to take this opportunity to recognize that many delegations have shown a lot of flexibility. For some delegations, my revised proposal is the minimum necessary to achieve consensus. And I thank these delegations for the flexibility and spirit of compromise. For other delegations, my revised proposal goes a little too far. But they have not rejected my proposal outright. And I thank them for continuing to reflect on my proposal. As a compromise proposal from the Chair, it is possible that my revised proposal may make everyone unhappy. But it is my view that my revised proposal offers a potential path forward to a consensus solution. And I urge and invite all delegations to keep an open mind and to look at my proposal positively. Thirdly, my assessment is that my revised proposal brings us closer to consensus. But we are not yet in a position to adopt a consensus decision at this session of the Open-Ended Working Group. It is also my assessment that more time is needed to reach a consensus decision. As you know, in the Open-Ended Working Group, we are required to make all decisions on the basis of consensus. I am therefore, reluctant to force a decision at this stage in the Open-Ended Working Group. It is my conclusion that we need additional time to reach consensus. Fourthly, I wish to share my assessment from all my informal consultations. That my sense is that all member states recognize the need for stakeholder engagement in the Open-Ended Working Group process. It is also my clear sense that all member states understand the need to build on our experience from the last Open-Ended Working Group. And all member states recognize the need to improve and enhance stakeholder engagement in the context of the Open-Ended Working Group. I’m encouraged by the fact that no delegation has opposed stakeholder engagement in the Open-Ended Working Group process. The discussion has focused mainly on defining the modalities for stakeholder engagement in the formal meetings of the OEWG. The discussions have been about finding the right balance between, on the one hand, the need for enhanced stakeholder participation in the OEWG process, and on the other hand, the need to respect the inter-governmental nature of the OEWG process. Fifth, I wish to share my own assessment, that if the Open-Ended Working Group is to be a credible and viable process, then we must have in place modalities for the meaningful participation of stakeholders. In fact, as chair, I’ve been saying right from the beginning, that it is important to have systematic, sustained and substantive stakeholder engagement in the context of the OEWG process. Yesterday, I held a virtual informal dialogue with more than 100 stakeholders to discuss the work of the Open-Ended Working Group. The community of stakeholders I met are excited and very much committed to contributing the ideas, expertise and resources to support the work of the OEWG. As I said in my opening statement on Monday, it is important that we find ways to engage with stakeholders so that they can support member states to implement the many agreements we have already reached in the previous OEWG. There is much we stand to gain by working in partnership with stakeholders. My sixth point is that my sense from the informal consultation is that all delegations agree on the need for stakeholder engagement at the second substantive session, which will begin on the 28th of March 2022. Now, in order to make this possible, it will be necessary to agree on modalities as early as possible, so that we can begin the process of inviting and accrediting relevant stakeholders. From the informal consultations, I sense a commitment to reach agreement on modalities for stakeholder engagement as soon as possible. I’ve been advised by the secretariat that two months will be needed to process the invitations and accreditation for stakeholder consultations. Accordingly, I wish to put forward the following timeline for the adoption of a decision on stakeholder modalities. Number one, I will continue my informal consultations intersessionally between now and mid-January 2022. Number two, I will write to all delegations no later than 18 January 2022, that is 18 January 2022, to convey my proposal for modalities for stakeholder participation, and place it under a silence procedure for one week. The silence procedure will expire on 25 January 2022. If the silence process passes successfully, then I will work with UNODA to immediately begin the process of inviting and accrediting stakeholders. If the silence is broken, then we’ll have to start our discussions on the modalities again, quickly. Number three, as the chair, I intend to send a letter at the conclusion of our meeting today to inform all delegations, formally, of my timeline for adopting modalities for stakeholder participation, as I’ve just outlined to you. As the chair I’m committed to keeping to this timeline, as it offers us a viable path to complete all the formalities required to invite and accredite stakeholders for the second substantive session. Now returning to the main body of my remarks, I want to say that my seventh, and my final point, is that I’m cautiously optimistic that we can find a consensus solution on the issue of stakeholder participation. It is true that there are still differences on this issue. But I believe that these differences are not insurmountable. I do see a path forward for us. During this week, it has been my sense that member states have come to a better understanding of each other’s positions, especially in the context of the decision making modalities have this Open-Ended Working Group, which requires us to work on the basis of consensus. In that sense, the time we have spent this week in informal consultations discussing the stakeholder issue has not been unproductive. On the contrary, I think it has been productive in the sense that we have been able to better understand each other’s positions. It is also my sense that there is a good faith and political commitment on all sides to resolve this issue. That is why I’m cautiously optimistic. As the Chair of this process, I will continue to do my best to find a consensus solution. And I will continue to work in a spirit of inclusivity and transparency. But ultimately the Chair cannot produce consensus from thin air. As I said in my opening statement on Monday, and Monday does seem like a long time ago, I did say in my opening statement that there is no short cut to consensus. And that we need to build consensus slowly and patiently, piece by piece, and step by step. We need to build bridges before we can build consensus. And we need to build trust before we can build bridges. This is a process that takes time. As Chair of the process, I will constantly look to the member states for their support and for their guidance. So I continue to count on your support and guidance in the weeks and months ahead on this and many other important issues. And I want to take this opportunity to say how grateful I am to all the expressions of support that I have received from so many of you for my efforts as the chair to find a consensus solution to this very important issue regarding modalities for stakeholder participation in our process. I conclude my comments. And at this stage, I’ll open the floor for all interested delegations to make their comments and statements if they so wish. The floor is open. I give now the floor to the European Union to be followed by South Africa. EU please.

European Union

Thank you, Mr. Chair. And let me first thank you wholeheartedly for all your efforts this week. To find a consensus on this issue, you’ve really been leading us towards this consensus on multistakeholder participation and we are grateful for your efforts in this regard. We underline the inclusive and transparent nature of this Open-Ended Working Group as reflected in its mandates and think they should also count for the discussions on the modalities and notably the multistakeholder participation. Many delegations, including ourselves, have raised their support on Monday, which indeed seems a long time ago, on engagement of multistakeholders and the need for multistakeholder engagement is also recognized more widely in the United Nations. And it’s important that this Open-Ended Working Group keeps pace with these developments. To this end, we want to ensure that we improve multistakeholder participation in the Open-Ended Working Group. As we were disturbed how the last modalities of the last Open-Ended Working Group, the previous one, were used by some states. All requested organizations not already accredited to the UN, many who have deep expertise on these issues, were anonymously vetoed. We of course recognize the right of all states to object to formal participation from a non-stakeholder that they do not see relevant to these discussions. And we are not questioning this right. We just ask that if a state objects to participation from such stakeholder that they do so in a transparent manner. In our view, your proposal reflects that principle by allowing any states to object to a stakeholder’s participation, but also, by respecting the rights of other member states to have transparency in this process. Every state has the right to voice their objections. And similarly, every state would have the right [to know] who has objected. In order for this process to succeed, it’s essential that trust is provided amongst us, including as regards to these decisions. You circulated your revised proposal on the multistakeholder participation on Wednesday, based also on the support for meaningful multistakeholder participation during our discussions on Monday. And we thank you once more for your engagement to find a consensual solution. We also, as you have noted yourself, have heard no objections to the current proposal. We see it in the interests of our work to advance international security in cyberspace and our credibility to move forward and find consensus on this matter as soon as possible. In this regard, we encourage all member states to support the proposal that you have put forward on Wednesday, and in full transparency, on which we would be able to agree already right now, as we would have been able to do so on Wednesday. We thank you very much for all your efforts this week. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you European Union for your statement. I give now the floor to South Africa, followed by the United States, South Africa, please. 

South Africa 

Thank you very much Chairperson. My delegation would firstly like to express its appreciation to you, Chairperson, for your commitment and tireless effort to bring us together on agreeing on the underpinnings of the modalities for broader, more meaningful stakeholder engagement. Chairperson, South Africa believes that we should do all we can to preserve the momentum, and good spirit that had resulted from the consensus outcomes of previous processes and the unification of the tracks as contained in the latest resolution giving support to this Open-Ended Working Group. Therefore, South Africa is willing to support an arrangement on modalities which are similarly based on consensus, building on rather than detracting from momentum. We need to use the OEWG itself as a confidence building measure in the matter of ICTs and International Security. While we would have hoped to find a solution to this matter at our current session, we would urge all to continue to make asserted efforts and good faith efforts in the intersessional period and in accordance with the timeline you have proposed to resolve the outstanding matter related to modalities. We believe that meaningful engagement with stakeholders can take on many forms, and should be balanced with retaining the intergovernmental nature of the formal sessions, including the decision making process. Ultimately, we must understand what stakeholder voices mean, and how to give full effect to them in this forum. Thank you very much. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much South Africa, United States to be followed by Switzerland. US please. 

United States 

Thank you Chair and thank you for your efforts to resolve this issue. The United States supports the Chair’s current proposal for stakeholder modalities. This proposal creates necessary transparency about member state objections to a stakeholders accreditation to this process. Given the abuse of the process we saw at the last OEWG, with all 18 requesting stakeholders anonymously blocked, transparency is necessary for the legitimacy of this process. The current proposal is not ideal from our perspective but represents a reasonable approach that should be acceptable to all member states. The proposal is also in line with broader UN trends towards more inclusiveness and transparency. As we expressed earlier in the week, enhancing international security in cyberspace relies on the expertise and efforts of far more than just governments. We are disappointed we have not been able to find a solution to this issue this week. Particularly because we have not heard any substantive arguments against the Chair’s current proposal. We can support the Chair’s plan to resolve this issue in the weeks ahead. We hope that we can all come together to accept the Chair’s current modalities proposal and move forward. All member states have expressed interest in stakeholder participation in the OEWG. We need to settle on a process as soon as possible to ensure such participation in the March session. Thank you very much. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you United States, Switzerland to be followed by France. Switzerland, please. 

Switzerland 

Merci, Monsieur President. Thank you, Mr. Chair. We have adopted the proposal of a work in the working group in order to ensure transparency. In this regard, my delegation has emphasized the importance that it attaches to sustainable and sustained participation of multistakeholders. We have stressed this and many delegations have favored the participation of multistakeholders in our group. We welcome the positions taken this week in favor of civil society, academia as part of the mandate of the OEWG. We also welcome the interest shown by stakeholders and participating in the process, as we have seen through various initiatives. Mr. Chair, my delegation wishes to thank you for your efforts with a view to finding a compromise solution reaching a decision this week. In this regard the proposal in your letter of 15 December seems to us to be a promising compromise. It is a simple and reasonable proposal. The participation of a stakeholder should take place in a transparent manner. We support your proposal and encourage other delegations to do the same. We also support the agenda which you are proposing today. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Switzerland, France to be followed by Turkey. 

France 

Merci beaucoup.Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Like the EU delegation, I would like to express France’s support for your proposal. I heard all around that this debate that has taken up our time all week has paralyzed our work and I think that those rumors are largely exaggerated, as Mark Twain said in other circumstances. We have all recognized here, the need to add substance and density to our work to have experts from civil society, academia, and the industry, I think we’re all in agreement on this.  We have also recognized the need to organize this receival of expertise, because it could happen that we could find ourselves buried under proposals. Then the debate on how to organize the modality is of this, personally, I was very surprised by this debate, to be honest, I could not have imagined that anyone would take, make use of the right to turn down stakeholders anonymously. And in fact, this is not a rule that exist anywhere. That is why, Mr. Chairman, your compromise seems excellent to us. And we thank you for proposing it, because it seems that you have found a good way to organize a technical modality for how this process should work. And you’ve involved all of the working group in this, and I thank you for that. Some states are requesting additional time, and you say that they should be given that and we support you. But, I do believe and continue to believe that transparency is important; that sovereign states can reject a certain expert, but another sovereign state has the right to ask who refused that proposal. And so that we hope that the consultations that you will be holding will conclude in the best way possible. And I think that that best way is your proposal Mr. Chairman, thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much France for your statement. Turkey to be followed by Egypt. Turkey, please. 

Turkey  

Mr. Chair, thank you very much for all the efforts you have exerted during this week and your stewardship for the objective of finding a consensus solution. My delegation has already expressed its support for making this OEWG a transparent and inclusive process. We have also voiced our interest in listening to the perspective of all the relevant stakeholders and benefiting from their expertise. We believe that your revised proposal of 15 December strikes a good balance towards this objective. We are ready to support it and hope everybody will be on board. We also agree with your view that the sooner we agree on the modalities, the better. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much Turkey. Egypt to be followed by Mexico, Egypt, please. 

Egypt 

Thank you, Mr. Chair. We join other delegations in expressing our appreciation to you Ambassador Gafoor for your tremendous efforts to find a common ground between the delegations and the consensual solution to the ongoing negotiations on the modalities of stakeholders. We reiterate our support to the last proposal of the chair reflected on the letter dated 15 December 2021. As we believe it’s balancing and there might be a promising compromise or two different sides. And we express our full support to the suggested plan or timeline by you chair to reach a consensual proposal before holding the second session. We also wanted to highlight the importance of supporting the Open-Ended Working Group process and encourage all delegations to show flexibility trying to find a common ground on the modalities. Hopefully before the second substantive session, trying to build up on the positive vibes we all touches throughout the substantive discussions on this session. We also remind delegations that the Open-Ended Working Group is an intergovernmental process. And a lot of delegations flew to New York to discuss cyber issues.  While the chair and many of us got exhausted in prolonged back-to-back meetings over the last few days. In this vein, we underscore the importance of the continuity of the work of the Open-Ended Working Group without any interruption, while you’re also underscored the importance of the participation of stakeholders in this process. Finally, we reiterate our full support to the chair and we trust that he will continue to work tirelessly to contain different views and push forward the whole process. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much, Egypt for your statement. I now give the floor to Mexico to be followed by Italy. Mexico, please.

Mexico

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Permit me firstly to recognize, as has been done by prior delegations, your tireless efforts. You have worked at all hours seeking a compromise proposal. As my delegation has stated previously, we firmly support and we promote the need to continue forward on the basis of your compromise proposal. The participation of stakeholders in this OEWG is key. This is not only a decision on modalities, this is not only a decision on who would be in the room or or who would not, we are also faced with a decision on the possibilities to make progress on functionalities and on the basis of the consensuses we have achieved in the United Nations. Other service providers, CSOs, academia, private sector, these organizations are key in order to work at the national, regional and international level to operationalize all of these commitments. As we have committed ourselves, in the OEWG, to build a new layer of understanding over prior processes, in the same way, we hope to build a new layer of understanding over the substantive participation of all of these stakeholders. For my delegation, Mr. Chair, consensus does not mean a right to veto. Consensus means an aspiration which should bring us all closer together to understanding, but not become an obstacle when all countries are willing to move forward. We hope to be ready as soon as possible, Mr. Chair, under your leadership and guidance to take this decision. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much, Mexico. Floor now to Italy to be followed by Indonesia. Italy, please. 

Italy 

Thank you, Chair. Good morning all. At the onset, like others let me thank you wholeheartedly, thank you for the efforts and the time that you have personally dedicated to this question. It is very appreciated. And indeed, as it was already anticipated by the EU delegation, we can support your proposal of 15 December, to which as you have just recalled you have not received any objection. I’m sure that this week’s intense consultations and the present exchange of views will be an important basis for your further reflections in the month of January, together with the reach out that you have announced you will make. As for the message I would like to convey today. Here are a few points. First, I like to remember that in six of the initial points of the common agenda, the Secretary General of the UN advocates for a stronger, more networked and inclusive multilateral system anchored within the United Nations as well as for stronger involvement of all relevant stakeholders. Therefore, if inclusivity, network and mass multistakeholder involvement are a goal at the systemic level, they are even more necessary at the level of the working group that deals with ICT developments, where the interaction with private sector and other actors are essential for a better understanding of so many aspects of our work and to devise that action-oriented approach that is desired. It is a great opportunity, especially for small and less digitized states and for the other stakeholders, of course, whose eagerness to participate we have heard yesterday. For us, therefore, the proposed modalities are important not only from the point of view of good organization, but also of substance to enrich the quality of the work of the OEWG. It is also, of course, a question of good cooperation, trust and transparency among the members of this group, because we think it is just fair in the spirit of inclusivity and universality that are the defining features of this group, that if a member state exercises its unquestionable prerogatives to object, this is done in a way that the rest of the members are informed on how and what might be a missed opportunity for them. Once again, we are in favor of the modalities you proposed in the letter of December 15th. We encourage others to do so as well and look forward to a positive solution in January. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much, Italy for your statement. I give now the floor to Indonesia, followed by Japan. Indonesia, please. 

Indonesia 

Mr. Chair, my delegation would like to reiterate our sincere appreciation for your dedication to find a consensus on the issue of stakeholder participation. My delegation reiterates the important contribution of a wider community of stakeholders to leverage its expertise to support and enrich the discussions by member states in the OEWG. We take note with appreciation of the Chair’s proposal on the way forward in deciding the modalities for stakeholders participation. We’d like to express our flexibility in supporting the proposal, ref one as you formally circulated on 15 December 2021 and the timing for decision making. Having not heard any substantial objection to the latest proposal, it is our hope that this would indicate a principle support on the proposal. We call on all states to extend flexibility for a consensual resolution of this issue in a timely manner. It is our hope that in the next substantive session, we can focus on advancing our substantial work and discussions. I thank you, Mr. Chair. 

Ambassador Gafoor  

Thank you very much Indonesia for your statement. I give now the floor to Japan followed by Latvia. Japan, please. 

Japan 

Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chair for giving me the floor. As expressed in the statement at the general exchange of views, Japan believes that the participation of non-state stakeholders in the official meetings of the OEWG 2021 to 2025 is essential to making the outcomes of the OEWG 2021 to 2025 meaningful and effective. Japan supports the elements included in the proposed OEWG modalities annexed to the Chair’s letter, 15 December. We believe that [the] Chair’s proposal ensures meaningful opportunities for non-state stakeholders to participate in official meetings. In addition, holding informal meetings such as Let’s Talk Cyber will create great opportunities to engage the non-state stakeholders. Japan believes that these efforts will contribute to the multistakeholder approach that will enable the OEWG 2021 to 2025 to produce meaningful and effective results. By conclusion, Mr. Chair, my delegation wishes to reiterate our gratitude for all your efforts this week. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much. Japan for your statement. I give now the floor to Latvia followed by Republic of Korea. Latvia please. 

Latvia 

Mr. Chair, in addition to the statement made by the European Union to which we fully subscribe, let us make some points in a national capacity. As was already outlined in our statement on Tuesday, as well as in the open letter we signed, Latvia pays great attention to meaningful involvement of multistakeholders in the OEWG discussions. Let me stress that for us it is not just a matter of principle, but also very a important element when it comes to the substance of our discussions. Multistakeholder involvement is crucial to advance our work in line with the rapidly evolving ICT environment. For this reason, we would be willing to support your proposals circulated on 15th of December. Although the proposal does not go as far as we would have liked, we believe it constitutes a reasonable compromise that everyone should be ready to accept, including it provides the minimum level of transparency regarding stakeholder accreditation. As you have pointed out, Mr. Chair, until now, we have not heard any formal objection to this compromise. Therefore, we still believe that it could be adopted today. That would help us already to move forward as we prepare for the next session in March. Mr. Chair, let me conclude by expressing appreciation for your work this week and affirm Latvia’s readiness to continue cooperating with you closely as we advance our work. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much Latvia for your statement. I now give the floor to Republic of Korea, you have the floor. 

Republic of Korea 

Thank you, Mr. Chair. My delegation would like to express our sincere gratitude for your energetic and tireless efforts to bring about the consensus and the Republic of Korea gives our full support to [the] Chair’s December 15 proposal. As we repeatedly indicated during this week’s discussion, it is essential for multistakeholders to participate in the OEWG to find ways to enhance the security in cyberspace. No one denies the importance of multistakeholders in this new domain. My delegation does support the Chair’s proposal. The proposal the Chair presented enhances transparency and inclusiveness without blocking sovereign states rights to oppose participation of certain stakeholders. As the European Union and other delegations indicated, it does highlight the transparency of the process so that we can better understand other countries’ concern[s]. It’s a kind of diagnostic procedure, in a sense, another type of confidence building among member states. We are just worried that our efforts will be necessarily protected; that’s the only concern we have. Therefore, my delegation fully supports chair’s proposal, and asks all the member states to show flexibility and join chair’s noble efforts to bring about the consensus at the earliest moment possible. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Korea for your statement. I give now the floor to Costa Rica to be followed by Colombia. Costa Rica, please.

Costa Rica

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Costa Rica thanks you for your tireless efforts on the question of the stakeholders. Costa Rica has taken due note of your proposal of 13 December and its revision of 15 December. As is well known, the position of my country on the item is a position of principle and therefore we will always support the active, open, transparent and inclusive participation of civil society, academia, think tanks and any relevant actor on the item in all processes at the United Nations. The participation of stakeholders on the matter of cyberspace and their technical knowledge is even more relevant. Therefore, because their knowledge is greater than the knowledge of some of our states, as we indicated at the beginning of this process, the participation of civil society, academia and think tanks is not an option; it is a need. Consensus, Mr. Chair, as stated by the distinguished delegation of Mexico is an aspiration. It is not a straightjacket, much less the minimum common denominator. Consensus works both ways and not just in one direction. Costa Rica believes that your proposal of 15 December is acceptable in terms of bringing us closer to cover the interests of my country on this question. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Costa Rica for your statement. I give now the floor to Colombia, followed by Brazil. Thank you, Brazil.

Colombia

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Mr. Chair, we are grateful for your enormous efforts to reach a consensus decision on the modalities of stakeholder participation, we reiterate the importance of your work in this OEWG. We should reach consensus as soon as possible, in order that we can benefit of your expertise, and have your support in operationalizing agreed measures, as well as in future developments. This is essential if we wish to move forward toward our goal. We support your proposal of 15 December, and we hope that it will be possible to reach agreement as soon as possible, taking into account the interest in this being a transparent, inclusive and process results based. Mr. Chair, the world has changed: cyberspace is a new challenge. Cyber diplomacy is a new dimension in international relations. And given this new reality, we must seek mechanisms that allow us to adapt to it. And this includes our work toward the future of the United Nations. And lastly, Mr. Chair, we reiterate our delegation’s support for your efforts. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much for your statement. Brazil, you have the floor please. 

Brazil 

Thank you, Mr. Chair. At the outset, Brazil would like to thank you for the efforts being done to reach a compromise on this matter. We really appreciate your work to bring delegations together to look at the same direction and to preserve the integrity of this process. From our part, we reiterate our support to a solution that allows for broader and substantive participation of civil society. Brazil believes that this process itself works as a confidence build measure. In that sense, transparency is of paramount importance. We recognize the challenges and the merits of a process based on consensus, and we hope that the matter of modalities will be resolved consensually, as soon as possible. Regarding the consultations, informal consultations you’ve proposed, we are willing to support the timetable put forward by you, as long as all states agree in good faith to show flexibility in order to achieve a compromise by the end of January. Additionally, I would like to point out that in January, some some delegations will also be engaged in the Review Conference of the NPT, so we would appreciate if the consultations should be made in a way as to take this into consideration. Finally, Brazil hopes that the pending modalities will be resolved in an expedited manner. So we can proceed to our meeting in March, with the guarantee that the experts from our capitals will come to New York to discuss substantive issues without procedural issues holding us back. Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much, Brazil for your statement, and I take note of your comment about the need to avoid, hopefully, scheduling clashes with other meetings in January. I give now the floor to Jordan to be followed by Germany. Jordan, please. 

Jordan 

Mr. Chair, I would like to express our sincere appreciation to great efforts to reach a consensus on the modalities of the stakeholders participation. We support your proposal dated 15th of December 2021. We hope that we’ll be able to reach a consensus that’s acceptable for all states. Then I’d like to reiterate my delegation’s full support to great efforts. Mr. Chair, thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much, Jordan, for your statement. I give now the floor to Germany to be followed by Argentina, Germany, please. 

Germany 

Thank you Chair. Germany wishes to thank you, Mr. Chair for your enormous efforts to take this group to a consensus solution on the central question of multistakeholder engagement in this group. As highlighted by the EU, we as EU member states, can support the compromise solution as on the table since 15th December. I would like to reiterate a point made by Indonesia and Latvia that since we have not heard formal objection to a solution that has been on the table for a number of days now, this indicates principle support by all delegations. Germany sees great merit in having this issue resolved between the participants of this group. Thank you 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Germany. I’ll give the floor now to Argentina followed by Australia, Argentina, please.

Argentina

Good morning and thank you Mr. Chair. Argentina joins in thanking you and recognizing all of the efforts that you have undertaken toward a consensus agreement on this very important matter for our process. I agree with the majority view that contributions by members of civil society, private sector, academia and experts, this is not an option in this process; it is a need. Mr. Chair in this regard, Argentina’s supports your recent revised proposal, which we believe achieves good balance as possible, which in particular, includes the priorities of states. We hope that this matter will be resolved as soon as possible, and if possible within your timeline. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much, Argentina. Australia, you have the floor please. 

Australia 

Thank you, Chair. I refer to but I am not going to repeat the points made by Australia on Monday, explaining the importance we place on meaningful multistakeholder engagement and transparency in our discussions, particularly as regards modalities of multistakeholders. Transparency remains a key principle for Australia. What I will say is that when I took the floor at the beginning of this week to acknowledge the many delegations who worked incredibly hard to find consensus, and compromise in the 2021 OEWG, and to note that we should not underestimate the effort that will be required here by us all to make further progress, I anticipated that this work would be a little further in our future. I was optimistic that we could make progress despite the contentious and complex nature of the issues that we’re here to discuss. Australia sincerely thanks you Chair, for your tireless efforts this week and also to those many delegations who have actively engaged to try to find compromise and consensus on an issue of importance to our future work. Let me be clear, I remain optimistic. Australia is committed to collectively advancing responsible state behavior in cyberspace. We are committed to working with all delegations to find a solution on modalities that can garner consensus support. We believe that your proposal, Chair, set out in your letter of 15 December can be that solution. Chair, this morning you have reminded me of an intervention that was made in the first OEWG by our esteemed former colleague from South Africa, who said that consensus is rarely found in making everyone happy; but in finding the spot where everyone is equally unhappy. Australia supports the Chair’s proposal of 15 December; it is progress if not perfect and Australia encourages all countries to support the Chair in his proposal for modalities in that letter from Wednesday. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Australia for your statement and for your note of optimism. I give the floor now to Iraq. You have the floor, please.

Thank you. Thank you and good morning to all. The delegation of Iraq would like to warmly thank you for your laudable and outstanding efforts and the excellence with which you have been leading the Open-Ended Working Group. In particular, regarding the participation of stakeholders in the work of this OEWG to contribute to the establishment of a safe and secure ICT environment. The delegation of Iraq has on many occasions reaffirmed the need to show sufficient flexibility and political will to negotiate in good faith on all of these matters in order to achieve our ultimate objective. My delegation would itself like to show flexibility and reiterate its thanks for your efforts. We have no objections when it comes to your proposal as contained in your letter dated December 15th, 2021. Likewise, we support the timetable that you have proposed at the beginning of this meeting.  We hope that your efforts will be crowned with success and that we will achieve an agreement that will allow us to begin the session in March in a way that will enable us to reach our objectives. Thank you, Mr. Chair. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much, Iraq for your statement. I’ll give now the floor to Israel to be followed by the UK. Israel, please.

Israel

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Israel would like to express its appreciation to the Chair’s efforts on this matter and support the Chair’s proposal. We hope that this issue is resolved sooner than later. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Israel. UK, please.

United Kingdom

Thank you very much, Mr Chair for giving me the floor. You’re right that we’ve been on quite a journey this week. On Monday, the UK came here with an ask to see modalities based on the principle of transparency, and a desire to see these concluded before starting discussions on substantive agenda items. When it became clear, this would not be possible and consensus would not be quickly reached, we took the decision not to stop the work of this group. As I’m sure many of you are aware, this is quite unusual. UN processes normally decide their modalities before moving on to subsequent agenda items. Though the many informals on this, this week, have taken some of our time I personally do not feel this has detracted from the substantive conversations we’ve been able to have in this OEWG. I am very grateful to you, Mr. Chair, for your extensive and even-handed efforts this week to try and guide us through this complex issue. We’ve listened carefully to the spectrum of views and your proposal rev 1 on the 15th of December feels like a reasonable landing zone for us. As I said, we came here on Monday with a simple ask for transparency, based on our interventions at the organizational session and the principles outlined in the open letter to you, signed by many states and stakeholders. Like you and many others in this room, we think the process would benefit from the inclusion of stakeholders so we can benefit from their expertise. I listened to your stakeholder meeting yesterday, and I thought one of them put it very well: stakeholders want a voice in this process, not a vote. As my colleague from the EU said, last time around non-ECOSOC participants were excluded from the previous OEWG. The UK would like to see that not happen again. But, we also recognize the sovereign right of states to block stakeholders they think are not relevant or suitable for these discussions. The proposal on the table is a compromise for the UK from the standard that they asked for on Monday. But this is a compromise we’re willing to make, because it provides for a transparent process. This principle of transparency is the bottom line for the UK. As others have said, the Chair’s text is a simple proposal. It means states can exercise their right to block any stakeholder and if they wish, then they can volunteer a reason, but they do not need to. So the question before us, is also a simple one. Do states wish to exercise the right to block in secret or, do they wish to own their decisions? We are grateful for your proposal, Mr. Chair, and we hope that others are able to support it. I was also very grateful for the timeline that you set out during your update for concluding the modalities prior to the second session in March. It was very clear from what you said that the Secretariat needs two months to facilitate the process and so this must begin on the 28th of January, if we are to have this in place for March. We must allow the Secretariat sufficient time to do this. So, the end of the silence procedure on the 25th of January is not a point for negotiations, it’s a point by which a final decision must be made. If states block a deal, and the Secretariat cannot begin its processes, then they will be preventing the OEWG from continuing in March. We thank you again, for your tireless efforts, Mr. Chair, and the UK has full confidence that we’ll be able to find an acceptable solution. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor  

Thank you, UK for your statement, I give now the floor to Poland, to be followed by Malaysia. Poland, please. 

Poland 

[Thank you] for your tireless efforts, that you are continuing in good faith to secure the compromise solutions. We appreciate your work and that of your team and all the participating and involved countries. Proposal prepared by you reflects very well the vital elements important to secure sensible, valuable and reasonable participation of multistakeholders. It also reflects the very principle of the whole process we are executing here; that is the one of transparency. I would like to thank all the interested parties for the commitment and for the concessions that they already presented in this process. We have all to give up some of our best ideas or what we think are the best ideas in order to achieve consensus, because this is the principle we’re working along with here and we believe that this proposal is a very good reflection of the good faith of all involved parties in this process. For that reason, as expressed by the member states of the European Union, and many other countries from different various areas of the world, we are very happy to support this proposal and have it adopted as quickly as possible. Thank you very much. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much, Poland for the statement. I give now the floor to Malaysia, please. 

Malaysia 

Mr. Chair, allow me to join the other delegations by thanking you for your tireless and hard efforts to find consensus solutions regarding the multistakeholder modality. Cybersecurity architecture is a multistakeholder environment where all the stakeholder needs to exists in an ecosystem of trust to ensure services can carry on. In the spirit of finding consensus solutions and move forward, Malaysia would like to express our support to your proposal, as was stated in your letter dated 15 December 2021. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much, Malaysia for your statement. I give now the floor to Slovenia. You have the floor please. 

Slovenia 

Thank you Chair for your continuous efforts to find the solution on this matter. We believe that a lot of options were put forward to find a good faith solution and that a constructive way forward can be traced and to continue the important work of the OEWG. Slovenia supports your proposal of December 15 on a multistakeholder participation and we hope we will achieve an agreement soon. Thank you so much. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much, Slovenia. Netherlands, please. 

The Netherlands 

Chair, let me start by expressing our deep appreciation for your able chairmanship over the past week and your tireless efforts in guiding us and to resolve the multistakeholder issue. As The Netherlands intervened on agenda item three on Monday, and in the spirit of transparency, I would like to say a few words on this again. We were happy with the timeline that you as Chair provided us on Monday. Accordingly, we have actively worked with other delegations to find a consensual solution before the end of the week. In the spirit of consensus, we support rev one as laid out in your letter of the 15th of December, we were pleased not to hear any objections to rev one and it also gives us hope. Chair, let me reassure you of our delegation’s continued support to you and your team. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor  

Thank you very much, Netherlands. I have no further speakers. I’ve had two more requests at this point. Denmark, followed by the Russian Federation. Denmark, please.

Denmark

Thank you, Mr. Chair. First of all I would like to add my voice to all the praises of your tireless effort in resolving this issue. That is a fact I think no one can question. Denmark aligns itself with the statement, not just of the European Union, but from Mexico, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Costa Rica, Brazil, and many others. Therefore, I’ll not elaborate further on the value of multistakeholder participation, as it has already been confirmed by so many others before me, and which I also spoke about on Monday. The revised seven point plan, which was shared on Wednesday, 15th December is, in our opinion, not perfect. However, in diplomacy, you have to be willing to accept what is not perfect. That is why you have the full support of Denmark to your revised plan. Moreover, as has been said by several others today, we’ve not heard any formal objection to the revised plan. So, in principle, we must assume that we can move forward as it stands. We can also support your proposed timeline. However, I ought to say that states who need the additional time should engage in good faith in ending this formally on the 25th of January. Thank you, Mr. Chair. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much. Denmark. Russian Federation, followed by Ireland. Russian Federation, please.

Russia

Mr. Chairman, I thank you for giving me the floor. When it comes to this matter, we would like to say the following. First of all, we’d like to thank you for all of your efforts to ensure the success of this first substantive session of the OEWG. Despite the fact that a number of states on the first day of our session took an organized action threatening to block it unless there was an immediate decision on the stakeholder issue. Together, through our joint efforts, we were able to prevent a collapse of the whole event and we were able to hold a very rich and substantive discussion on the issues that are directly related to the mandate of our working group. We are very pleased that this was the case and we thank you for your able leadership as Chair. When it comes to modalities for interaction with stakeholders, we share the view expressed by South Africa, for instance, and we believe that here we need to take a very balanced, carefully considered approach that takes into account the interests of all states, who are the primary participants of the Open-Ended Working Group format. If the precedent of the first group isn’t satisfactory for some and if we are tackling the task of developing concrete mutually acceptable modalities for the participation of stakeholders in our work, then we need to approach this as responsibly as possible. Amongst other things, in our view, this means rejecting any and all attempts to use this matter as an excuse to disrupt the whole process in its entirety. On our part, we are ready to work constructively on this and we are going to provide our detailed thoughts on the matter in accordance with the timeline that you’ve specified. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Russian Federation. Ireland, You are followed by China. Ireland, you have the floor please.

Ireland

Thank you chair, on the lines with the comments made earlier by the EU and we’ll try to keep our comments brief in the interest of time. Chair, we hugely appreciate your engagement this week, including consultations with states on modalities for stakeholder participation in OEWG meetings. An inclusive and transparent OEWG requires real stakeholder engagement. As you have pointed out, no state has objected to the participation of multistakeholders and while we still need to discuss, we’re still sorting out modalities, there is broad agreement that multistakeholders can add real value to our discussion at the OEWG which is very heartening to see. As we have also heard this week, this view is widely shared not just in relation to the OEWG, but across the UN system. Stakeholders bring real value to discussions at every level and will be critical to the successful implementation and operationalization of the acquis and in capacity building and confidence building processes. We support an open transparent process at this OEWG including on the form of participation of non-state stakeholders. We thank the chair for his proposal circulated on 15 December, and we’re happy to see that no state has objected to this proposal. Ireland supports your proposal and we request all the others to do the same so we can move forward in the spirit of consensus, which has and continues to be an important element of our discussions here at the working group. Thank you very much Chair. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Ireland. China to be followed by Estonia. China, please.

China

Thank you, Chair. I believe just like me you will have the same feeling, that is, we have spent a rather hard process. But fortunately, we are still able to discuss all substantive issues. China thanks the Chair for your effort to keep a close communication with all parties during this week. You convened the consultation for multistakeholders multilaterally so as to find a way out for the non-state organizations to take part in the process. China does not want to repeat our position that we mentioned before; but I would like to emphasize the following points. First, our OEWG is led by the member states, it is an intergovernmental process led by member states. The participation by civil societies would have some impact on the work of the group; would facilitate our work or would promote our work. The OEWG’s current arrangement of meetings has already provided enough time and opportunities for civil societies, non-governmental organizations, to air their views. Second, China hopes that Chair will base itself on the precedent of the first OEWG to handle the participation of non-government organizations and support the group to continue in informal consultations, the communication and exchange of ideas with non governmental organizations. Considering some countries have concerns on the participation of non-governmental organizations,  we hope that the OEWG will have more transparency. Chair, you have mentioned about your ideas about the next phase of work. China would like to work with all other parties to, under the leadership of our Chair, appropriately handle relevant issues related to this, so as to avoid the substantive discussions of OEWG. We believe, with the common effort of all parties, we will be able to appropriately handle this issue. I thank you Chair. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, China for your statement, I give the floor now to Estonia to be followed by the Dominican Republic. Estonia please. 

Estonia 

Thank you for giving me the floor, Mr. Chair. Estonia aligns itself with the comments made by the European Union but wanted to also take the floor in our national capacity to express our deepest gratitude to you, Mr. Chair, for your stewardship, and the tireless efforts of you and your team over this week. For Estonia, this is a question about transparency, integrity and substance. Meaningful and transparent multistakeholder engagement adds and not does not take away from our discussions. It brings important additional perspectives and expertise and enhances the relevance of this process. As our colleagues from Costa Rica have eloquently noted this morning, multistakeholder participation is not an option; it is a need. We were encouraged by the multistakeholder consultations held by you Mr. Chair yesterday. It again showed the richness of the ideas and the willingness of the multistakeholder community to provide input to our deliberations. It also highlighted the need to engage them as substantially as possible, as we proceed with the OEWG. It is a truth widely acknowledged in diplomacy, that consensus is something that makes everyone equally unhappy. Something also noted by some colleagues this morning, such as Australia. While in an ideal world, Estonia would have supported even more stringent modalities, we also acknowledge we do not live in an ideal world, and that the spirit of compromise requires flexibility. In this spirit, we express our strong support to the compromise solution put forward by you, Mr. Chair, on the 15th of December, and we regard it still as a simple step forward from the previous OEWG. But we also agree with the speaker from the United Kingdom, who noted that the proposal on the table is a simple one. We’re asking for transparency, nothing more, nothing less; a principle that we believe no one objects to. Hope and optimism for a step forward from the previous OEWG, was also something expressed by members of the multistakeholder community yesterday, who are also carefully watching our negotiations. We agree with the speaker from the Russian Federation on one thing, we need to act responsibly. For this reason, we believe that we owe it to the multistakeholder community, as well as to ourselves as states, to reach a consensus at the very earliest opportunity to allow meaningful multistakeholder participation in our next formal session and March. Thank you, Mr. Chair. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Estonia. Dominican Republic, followed by the Czech Republic. Dominican Republic.

Dominican Republic

Thank you Mr Chair, for giving me the floor. As delegations have stated before me, I wish to thank you for your tireless efforts to lead to a consensus on this very important issue. Our delegation supports having the working group have an inclusive and transparent process with the valuable and active participation of multistakeholders given their significant contributions to the process. We take note of your proposal of 15 December and we support it, since we see it as a well balanced proposal. We hope that this matter will reach a solution in the near future and the work will continue based on this period of consensus. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Dominican Republic. Czech Republic, please. 

Czech Republic 

Thank you for the floor, Mr. Chair. The Czech Republic wishes to join other delegations and the EU in thanking you, Mr. Chair, for your efforts to find a consensus path forward on this issue. However, at this point, we want to emphasize the following. First, it has been suggested somehow that this issue has disrupted this process and we believe that nothing could be further from the truth. With the exception of the regular institutional dialogue discussion, which we will discuss momentarily, we have indeed completed all our substantial discussions under agenda item five, thanks to your able leadership, Mr. Chair, but also due to the flexibility and constructiveness of our colleagues from the United Kingdom and others. We also wish to put on the record that from the Czech Republic’s perspective, we do not wish to disrupt this process. We’re driven by a desire to improve it, which is the very essence of our proposal on multistakeholder modalities. It will probably come as no surprise that the Czech Republic is among those delegations that believe our modalities for multistakeholder participation could be even more ambitious, as articulated by my Estonian colleague, just moments earlier. But, in the spirit of consensus, we’re ready to join the compromise that you proposed and put on a table today and we thank you for it. And finally, we’re slightly surprised that this issue should be framed as a new issue given the fact that our esteemed colleagues from Canada, who could not be here today, already tabled a proposal to address the issue around transparency at the organizational session earlier this year. Thank you, Mr. Chair. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Czech Republic for your statement. I’ve exhausted the list of speakers. I’d like to ask are there any further requests for the floor? If there are none, we will return to agenda item five, sub-item six regarding regular institutional dialogue. So I’d like to open the floor to hear comments on regular institutional dialogue under agenda item five.The floor is open. India, please, you have the floor.. 

India 

Thank you, Mr. Chair. As we have seen in [the] last few sessions of the present OEWG, the cyberspace and its associated key dimensions, such as existing and potential threats, norms, principles and rules for responsible behavior of states to cyberspace. Application of international law to use of ICTs, CBMs and capacity buildings do not stand in isolation, but are integrated as a homogeneous entity that evolves continuously with emerging technologies and inventions in the future. The latest GGE and OEWG reports of 2021 have discussed these aspects in detail, and the necessity of having a regular intergovernmental dialogue, to discuss, plan, implement, and review a list of effective and resilient mechanisms that ensure an open, secure, stable, accessible and peaceful ICT environment. We believe that regular intergovernmental institutional dialogue, which offers an effective platform to go from policy discussions to practical cooperation measures and implement the same with an open and inclusive international cooperation framework that enhances cyber capabilities of member states and ensures resilience of cyber infrastructure. My delegation believes that the regular institutional dialogue under UN auspices supports the shared objectives of strengthening international peace, stability, and prevention of conflicts in the ICT environment. In the context of an increasing dependency on ICT, and the scope of threats emanating from the malicious use, there is need to continue to enhance common understandings, build confidence and intensify international cooperation and intergovernmental regular institutional dialogue would enable implementation and monitoring of the norms, which are part of the latest OEWG and GGE reports. An important benefit of regular institution dialogue would be to foster mutual confidence among Member States. Mr. Chair, we believe that any future regular institutional dialogue should not duplicate existing UN mandates, efforts and activities focusing on the digital dimensions of other issues. In this regard, a greater exchange between these forums and the first committee established processes, could help to reinforce synergies and improve coherence while respecting the legal, expert nature or specialized mandate of each body. A future dialogue on international cooperation on ICTs in the context of international security, must integrate various key aspects of ICT environments such as raising awareness, building trust and confidence, and encouraging deeper study and discussion on areas where no common understanding has yet emerged. We recognize the utility of exploring mechanisms dedicated to following up on the implementation of the agreed norms and rules, as well as the development of further ones. My delegation believes that any future mechanism for regular institutional dialogue under the auspices of the United Nations should be open and inclusive, with an action oriented process with specific objectives, building on previous outcomes and be inclusive, transparent, consensus-driven and result-based. Mr. Chair, I take this opportunity to thank you for all the efforts that you have taken to reach consensus on the issue of modalities for the participation of the multistakeholders. I thank you, Mr. Chair. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much, India for your statement and your expressions of support. European Union, you have the floor please.

European Union

Thank you, Chair. I have the honor to speak on behalf of the EU and its member states The candidate countries Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania, the country of stabilization and association process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia all aligned themselves with this statements. Mindful of the call by states to establish a regular institutional dialogue guided by the key principles such as universality and inclusivity that should that state should tackle common challenges effectively, the EU together with partners 54 UN member states proposed to establish a Programme of Action to advance responsible behavior in cyberspace, a POA. The POA would offer such a permanent infrastructure. The proposal aims at establishing a permanent, inclusive, results-oriented instrument to further international cooperation and support states in the implementation of existing commitments as well as looking at future challenges. The UN and its member states believes that the Open-Ended Working Group and the POA have great potential for complementarity at this stage, and the Open-Ended Working Group could hold informal meetings with participants to exchange views on challenges for implementation, providing valuable input for the establishment of the Programme of Action. In order to ensure complementarity between the open and working group and the POA, the Open-Ended Working Group could facilitate timely and dedicated exchanges on the POA, including with the participation of the multistakeholder community. Such meetings would allow taking into account of specific views and needs of all states and relevant stakeholders, and to ensure that the Open-Ended Working Group is regularly informed about the state of play on the establishment of the POA. While the Programme of Action, due to its nature of the subject matter, would remain a state different process, cooperation with the multistakeholder community brings practical benefits for security. The interconnected and complex nature of cyberspace require joint efforts by governments, private sector, civil society, technical community users and academia, to address the challenges faced in cyberspace. For instance, the private sector develops controls and operates the majority of global ICTs. In order to develop the Programme of Action proposal in a transparent and an inclusive manner, we welcome dialogue and engagement with the international community to ensure that the POA addresses the need of the international community. The EU and its member states look forward to these exchanges, and to seek consensus on a permanent structure to cooperate on the issue of international security in cyberspace. Thank you, Chair. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you EU for the statement. I give now the floor to France. You have the floor, please.

France

Thank you chair. My delegation aligns itself with the statement made by the European Union and I would like to make a few comments in its national capacity. For 20 years now, the establishment of a series of working groups within the United Nations, first the group of governmental experts, and then the Open-Ended Working Groups, bringing together all the member states of the UN have allowed us to hold regular structured exchanges on issues related to ICT technologies in the context of international security. The dialogue that’s held in this framework has allowed states to come to a common understanding of emerging threats, related to the malicious use of ICTs to develop applicable norms for state behavior, and to recommend cooperation and conflict prevention measures. In doing so this dialogue usefully contributed to the goal of an open, secure, stable, accessible and peaceful ICT environment. France is in favor of continuing such a dialogue under your leadership in the framework of this new Open-Ended Working Group. A number of questions require further indepth consideration and we intend to contribute actively to this work to continue deepening and broadening the normative framework for responsible state behavior and adapting it as necessary to respond to new challenges and threats that emerge in the ICT realm. Moreover, we are increasingly hearing the idea that pursuing this dialogue must be complemented and bolstered with initiatives that are focused on action. Paragraph 73 of the final report of the previous OEWG, thus underscored that in complement to a future discussion on norms, it would be useful in the future to explore mechanisms to follow up on their implementation. And you yourself, Mr. Chairman, in your guiding questions that you disseminated prior to the session, invited states to think on how a regular institutional dialogue could be held in the future in terms of measures focused on action. As you’re aware, Mr. Chairman, France believes that this is one of the major priorities of our work. It is in fact an enormous priority, one dictated by the international community and these norms must be developed to be homogenous and applicable to all states and stakeholders. For this reason, we along with 53 other states in the European Union, promote this proposal of a Programme of Action whose goal would be to establish, under the auspices of the UN, a permanent, dynamic and inclusive action-focused instrument. Allow me briefly to share our vision of some of the core elements that make up this proposal.  The Programme of Action would seek to establish an institutional structure that would be permanent, i.e. a platform that could tackle concrete projects, for example, capacity building, and could ensure regular follow up through periodic meetings. As I stated yesterday, in my statement under capacity building, these structures could be granted their own proper standing means with a secretariat and perhaps even a trust fund in order to complete their mission. This instrument would be a dynamic instrument that would incorporate norms as we develop them and keep track of current and emergent threats in the ICT realm. I indicated yesterday that the POA would serve to move forward the normative framework as we have currently agreed on including relevant GA resolutions, but which could in the future support the implementation of future norms that could be adopted by states on a consensus basis. In addition, in these periodic meetings, the Programme of Action could regularly assess progress made in the implementation of these norms, analyze the evolution of needs expressed by states, as well as that of emergent ICT threats. And on that basis, identify if necessary new priority areas of action. The POA would seek to achieve inclusivity and complementarity of efforts and it would, of course, involve all interested states in its work in accordance with the principle of inclusivity, which would guide our work on ICTs. In addition, in the logic of complementarity, the POA would seek to be coherent with other actions already taken under existing initiatives. And finally, and to meet the desire expressed by number of states, this programme would be focused on action. I already shared several aspects of how this could support national efforts through capacity building exercises that would be adapted to needs expressed by states; that would be one major pillar. Another possible pillar of its work, would be developing in accordance with the recommendations of the report of the previous OEWG of cooperation with the private sector, and eventually in the context of a specific dedicated Working Group in order to raise awareness among the business community on such topics as the proliferation of malicious ICTs and potential impacts on international logistic chains which could affect international stability and security. Mr. President, this was a general overview of our vision for the POA and the pillars of its work and my Egyptian colleague will shed light on other aspects of this proposal. This vision must now be translated into specific modalities that we hope to define in an inclusive and transparent manner. That is why in accordance with the recommendations of the previous Open-Ended Working Group and the GGE, we hope with the other co-sponsors of the POA to continue working on this proposal within this group, taking into account the views and suggestions of all interested member states. To that end, on 30th November, we submitted a working paper that your team has shared on the website of our group and we hope that other states will join the group of co-sponsors to further work on this proposal and elaborate it. And we hope above all that the session, of that in March, will allow us to further flesh out these initial proposals. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much, France for your statement and also for your proposal. I give now the floor to the Islamic Republic of Iran, followed by Switzerland. Iran, please. 

Iran 

On the issue of regular institutional dialogue, of course comparing to the previous questions, our statement would be short.  The Islamic Republic of Iran continues to support the central role of the United Nations in advancing security in the ICT environment through international cooperation. The intergovernmental character of any regular institutional dialogue should be preserved and respected to avail all UN member states of the opportunity for inclusive, transparent and open-ended participation similar to the current OEWG. We are of the view that a conflict-free, development-oriented, transparent, fair, moral and peaceful cyberspace requires a legally binding instrument to fill the legal gaps arising from its unique features. Such a legal binding framework would lead to more effective global implementation of commitments and a strong basis for holding actors accountable for their actions. I thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Iran. I give the floor now to Switzerland, followed by the UK. Switzerland, please.

Switzerland

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We have made significant progress since our first discussion on cybersecurity. Since 2015, we have 11 norms for responsible state behavior. The reports of the Open-Ended Working Group and the GGE of last year have brought us further clarity on these norms. We also repeatedly confirmed that international law in its entirety applies to cyberspace. We are convinced that the normative framework that we have achieved thus far can already make a difference. If it’s properly implemented, it can ensure the stability of cyberspace. Consequently, we are firmly convinced that regular institutional dialogue would facilitate the proper implementation of this normative framework and to do this regular institutional dialogue must focus on three aspects. First, the implementation itself. Regular institutional dialogue should be a platform where states can track progress in implementation, share best practices and promote cooperation. The introduction of national surveys of implementations would be a first step in this regard. Secondly, this dialogue should be focused on capacity building so that all states have the necessary means to implement this normative framework and ensure cybersecurity. Thirdly, institutional dialogue should focus on the broader stakeholder community and other stakeholders play a crucial role in cybersecurity as we’ve already discussed at length today. Without them, cyberspace would simply not work, and they are also essential when it comes to implementing rules that seek to ensure a open, secure, stable, accessible and peaceful ICT environment. It is therefore essential to involve the stakeholders in the challenges and opportunities of cyberspace and ICTs. Given this, we are part of the 54 states that support the establishment of a Programme of Action. This initiative focuses on the three aspects. It will build on the results of the OEWG and the GGE, including the results of this current Open-Ended Working Group. As France just illustrated, the POA would work as an action focussed instrument to advance the implementation of the normative framework. It would do this by identifying the main challenges that states face, provide relevance and implementable recommendations and encorage the international community to respond to those challenges. It would also provide concrete support for capacity building efforts, in particular, through a dedicated Working Group on that matter. And finally, it would do this by promoting major engagement from the stakeholder community. In addition, the Programme of Action would provide an opportunity to occasionally evaluate if additional actions are necessary in a rapidly evolving ICT environment; as many have already underlined, the Programme of Action is meant to be a complementary mechanism to other UN processes and it will allow us to make sure that we uphold the commitments that we make within these walls. The Programme of Action is a living, evolving proposal and we look forward to discussions on the POA within and outside of the United Nations in order to together build a platform that can allow us to achieve our objectives and will benefit all. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you Switzerland, give now the floor to the UK, followed by Israel. UK, please.

United Kingdom

Thank you, Mr. Chair. The UK supports continued regular institutional dialogue to build our long history of international cooperation on this topic. In that context, we align with much of what has been said by our Indian colleague. For the UK, focusing on the implementation and development of the agreed framework for responsible state behavior in cyberspace is crucial if we are to fulfill our duty, and protect all states from the risks of malicious cyber activity. We’re concerned both about the ability of a single process to make substantive progress at pace on the broad range of topics we have discussed, and about the ability of states to resource multiple discussions. This is our shared challenge and we must work out together how we can resolve it. I believe it was Canada who said in the previous OEWG that form follows function. One area where we already understand more about the function of dialogue is around the need to implement those agreements which are already on the table. For that reason, the UK supports the need to consider the outcomes of the previous OEWG in our work, as outlined in the mandate, and discuss the elaboration of a possible Programme of Action. We have already had good suggestions this week in our capacity building a norms discussions, which could relate to this proposal. They must be considered and addressed together through the OEWG. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, UK. I give the floor now to Israel, followed by Egypt. 

Israel 

Thank you chair. Israel holds the position that it is important to continue conducting an inclusive and transparent global discussion on matters pertaining to security of and the use of ICTs. The question of what should be the exact mechanism of such a regular institutional dialogue is directly related to its possible mandate, modalities and characteristics. Israel is of the view, that for the sake of inclusiveness and effectiveness of such a dialogue, the framework for such a dialogue on ICT should be of a voluntary and non-legally binding nature. In this context, Israel also believes that as cybersecurity and cyber resilience are key elements of states’ national security, it is essential that any future framework will be consensus based. Any chosen institutional dialogue should avoid any duplications or fragmentations, as well as maximize the use of resources and maintain a practical and focused process. As to the proposal of France and Egypt, on a Programme of Action for advancing responsible state behavior in cyberspace, Israel thinks the idea is interesting and merits a serious consideration. At this stage, however, Israel feels it is premature to adopt a position on this proposal, since the modalities and characteristics of such a mechanism are not clear yet and need to be elaborated. As mentioned above, Israel would expect such a mechanism to be consensus based. Mr. Chair, Israel believes the Open-Ended Working Group should conduct an in depth discussion on the possible modalities and characteristics of the different options. Thank you Chair 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Israel for your statement, I give now the floor to Egypt followed by Pakistan. Egypt please. 

Egypt 

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Egypt believes that the United Nations must play a central, leading role in promoting dialogue on the security of ICTs and their use by states and develop norms rules and principles for responsible state behavior and this area in this arena. Given the strategic importance and the global cross-border nature of the related threats of an international measures to mitigate these threats, and inclusive multilaterally agreed and rules based process within the United Nations system, the best and most efficient way to ensure that the agreed arrangements are equitable, comprehensive and effective. While states have a primary responsibility for maintaining a secure and peaceful ICT environment, however, international dialogue within United Nation led processes in particular to Open-Ended Working Groups is the most inclusive process to tackle cyber issues. Where Egypt has participated and willing to continue to participate constructively in its work to keep building on the positive discussions and agreed outcomes of the previous cyber related processes. Taking into consideration there is an urgent need to elaborate a sustainable and action oriented framework, complementing the work of the Open-Ended Working Group, focusing on the implementation of the consensual outcomes of the last Open-Ended Working Group and GGEs, as well as supporting the capacity building efforts. The Programme of Action would be based on a political declaration, which would recall existing and emerging threats to international security, related to the malicious uses of ICTs building naturally on the threat assessments contained in GGE and Open-Ended Working Group reports and reaffirm states’ commitment to the framework agreed and successive GGE reports and the 2021 OEWG. With regard to the possible modalities for the establishment and organization of the Programme of Action, inclusive consultations will be conducted to seek states’ views on the Programme of Action. These consultations would also provide opportunities to share and discuss further options for modalities, as well as analysis and lessons learned from previous programmes of action, such as the progamme of action on small arms and light weapons. While to maintain the continuity of the work of the Programme of Action, the co-sponsoring states are positively considering to hold a periodic meeting every two years, as well as review conferences every six years. While there is a possibility also to hold the intersessional meetings and also there is a possibility to establish working groups to focus on specific aspects of the programme of work. Mr. Chair, we look forward to further discuss the proposal of the Programme of Action with all member states in an inclusive and transparent manner to further elaborate the Programme of Action to address its modalities, hopefully in the second substantive session. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Egypt. I give the floor now to Pakistan, followed by Australia. Pakistan please. 

Pakistan  

Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman. At the outset, my delegation would also like to express our deep appreciation to your able leadership for navigating the first session of this Open-Ended Working Group and the major participation of stakeholders in a very skillful and inclusive manner. With regard to [the] establishment of regular institutional dialogue with the broad participation of estates, my delegation believes that the United Nations should continue to have a central role in promoting dialogue on the security of ICTs, further developing norms, rules and principles for responsible state behavior, and also evolving a common understanding on all key aspects of ICT metrics. It is important that the regular institutional dialogue, with the broad participation of states, consolidates the progress achieved thus far, and maintains the momentum carried out in this group. An inclusive, multilaterally agreed, consensus based process within the United Nations system represents the best way to ensure that the agreed arrangements in this field take into account the concerns of all states and are equitable, comprehensive and are effectively implemented. States have the primary responsibility for maintaining a secure and peaceful ICT environment. However, private sector entities, academic experts, civil society organizations should also be allowed to share their experiences and express their views during discussion within such mechanism. Establishment of a specialized institutional forum on the subject under the United Nations auspices would also represent a major contribution towards strengthening international efforts to ensure a more reliable, secure and global ICT environment. I thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Pakistan for your statement. Australia to be followed by The Netherlands. Australia, please. 

Australia 

Thank you, Chair. Australia recalls the recommendations of the 2021 OEWG report to ensure continuation of inclusive and transparent discussions under the auspices of the United Nations. Australia aligns with the statements of France and Egypt, the European Union and many others as regards their points on the proposal to establish a Programme of Action under the auspices of the UN. The proposal for a UN Programme of Action is to promote, refine and implement common understandings and cooperative measures, to respond to current and emerging threats in the ICT environment in the context of international security, and to provide a periodic opportunity to assess whether additional actions are necessary to respond to the rapidly evolving ICT environment. The framework of responsible state behavior is not a static one; technology advances, threats evolve and proliferate, challenges to implementation remain. The Programme of Action can provide vehicles to promote relevance and agility in the face of such change. I look forward to further discussions on this topic in future as we shape the Programme of Action to be accessible and relevant for all states. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Australia. I give the floor now to The Netherlands to be followed by Indonesia. 

The Netherlands 

Thank you Chair. Our institutional dialogue on the use of ICTs by states in the context of international security has come a long way. In 2004, intergovernmental deliberations, under UN auspices, saw its first light. Since then, the discussions on this issue have gained in both importance and urgency. This culminated in the previous Open-Ended Working Group, providing a platform for all member states to express their views on this issue; a platform that The Netherlands valued and actively contributed to. As we’ve underlined in previous interventions, crucial to the success of the Open-Ended Working Group was the transparent and inclusive manner in which it was conducted. While discussions on regular institutional dialogue in the previous Open-Ended Working Group are still ongoing, the General Assembly mandated the establishment of the current group until 2025. This did not allow the Open-Ended Working Group to make a recommendation with regards to its own succession. With the timeframe of the current group, institutional dialogue has been paved out for us for the time being and it is up to member states to make effective use of this process on the basis of consensus. Chair, allow me to share three key considerations as we continue to discuss regular institutional dialogue. Firstly, in the previous Open-Ended Working Group states concluded that future dialogue should not duplicate existing UN mandates or efforts focusing on the digital dimensions of other issues. We continue to support this consensus view and encourage exchanges between different forums to reinforce synergies while respecting the different mandates. Secondly, we are of the view that regular dialogue should involve the participation of the private sector, civil society and academia. While it is up to states to decide over matters of international security, other stakeholders all have a role to play and expertise to contribute. Thirdly, we should think about tangible outcomes building on the consensus framework that has emerged under the auspices of the UN. We believe the current Open-Ended Working Group can take forward practical initiatives to implement the normative framework. As mentioned before, we are thinking of points of contact networks, vulnerability disclosure mechanisms, and other concrete actions that increase stability in cyberspace and help to prevent conflict. At the same time, we recognize the call by many member states to facilitate capacity building to enable all states to prepare for and respond to ICT incidents. And to this end, the Open-Ended Working Group could be complemented by the Programme of Action, as referred to by previous speakers. We believe the POA could be a useful platform that facilitates capacity building and exchange of best practices to implement the UN framework developed by GGEs and Open-Ended Working Group and endorsed by the General Assembly. We seek the views of all member states on this initiative, and how to make it useful, practical and inclusive. Chair, cyber will become even more important as our societies continue to become more digitalized. Multilateralism is one of the core principles and values of The Netherlands foreign policy. We will continue to support dialogue, under UN auspices and work with all member states to uphold and strengthen the international rules based order. Thank you.

Ambassador Gafoor 

 

Thank you, The Netherlands, Indonesia to be followed by Argentina. Indonesia, please.

Indonesia

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Indonesia wishes to reiterate our support to the success of the OEWG process as the only multilateral and inclusive intergovernmental body to address the subject of security and in the use of ICT: an important work which merits commitment from all states. We thank you for providing us with a guiding question on how the future regular institutional dialogue could support action-oriented measure. In our view, the OEWG shall consider a possibility of establishing a permanent process in the UN framework, to discuss the issue of security of and in the use of ICT while taking into account resources and existing mechanism that are currently in place. We need to ensure that this forum provides a channel for meaningful interactions between states, relevant stakeholders and regional organizations with a clear mechanism and working method. Aligned with your guiding question, my delegation also believes that the success of our work relies in our commitment to produce tangible, results-oriented outcomes and reflecting common interests, while taking into account previously agreed recommendations. Our work needs to balance the aspect of discussion on the existing recommendations, as well as new proposals and initiatives while finding ways to expedite implementation of those receiving consensus support. My delegation is encouraged to hear various action-oriented and concrete proposals, which have been put forward by delegations during this first substantive session and we stand ready to work together towards a consensus outcome. I thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Indonesia. Argentina, followed by Germany. Argentina, please.

Argentina

Thank you Mr. Chair. Briefly, I will revert to capacity building. It is one of the key elements together with mutual, confidence building measures. To approach this complex item is a top priority and we should look at it from a holistic viewpoint, including other aspects. It should include infrastructure, technical and legal and political matters, and include gaps and other actors. Quality is one of the foundations of all structures on which capacity is built, and that should be a focus of attention in our discussions. States pay attention to this, but the international community has a lot to do. We believe that another important point is diagnostics; as to the real needs for capacity, that should be another focus of attention in order not to waste scarce resources. This is one of the main tasks which is pending and on which we should work. The principles reiterated in various reports continue to be important and that means that capacity building activities must be politically neutral, transparent and involve design. Cooperative work with representatives of civil society, private sector, academia is crucial for all the items in our agenda and particularly relevant in this field. Given common challenges, at the national level, there is areas of government work on diagnostic needs, including all actors. We believe that that is the best way in which to approach the problem. Specific knowledge of regional and sub-regional organizations play an important role in training programs, adjusted to the needs of each region. Argentina wishes to emphasize the role of the OAS in this field. One of the gaps in cybersecurity is the gender gap and for that reason we emphasize the Fellowship Programme, which is supported by Australia, Canada, The Netherlands, US, UK, and which has allowed for the participation of many women in our deliberations. This framework, we welcome the announcement of the Dominican Republic as to the creation of centers of cybersecurity in the Caribbean. Argentina will participate constructively in this initiative, which shows the fruits of inter-regional dialogue and the importance of regional initiatives, which we encourage. Following what has been stated by Egypt, France and others, we wish to emphasize the Programme of Action. This is an initiative which has been thought of mainly, in order to facilitate and implement capacity building in all aspects of our agenda. The proposal is based on a standing and structured platform with the cooperation of all actors on a transparent basis, led by states under the aegis of the UN.  One of the central objectives of this proposal is to cooperate and implement training measures, which would make it possible to have the necessary time to make use of good teachings and best practices, which may result from training activities. Also, it has been stated, among other things, the POA will promote addressing challenges we face in international cooperation. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Argentina. I give the floor now to Germany, followed by Ecuador. Germany, please. 

Germany 

Thank you, Mr. Chair, Germany’s fully aligned with the statement of the European Union and wishes to add a few remarks in a national capacity. The very substantial discussions we have had during this week have shown the benefits of continuous dialogue with the broad participation of UN membership, as well as non-government stakeholders. Our discussions this week have also brought many concrete proposals for implementation measures to put on our table. Among many other action-oriented points, we have heard recommendations to pursue cyber capacity building framework, establishment of a trust fund to support cyber capacity building, a list of Confidence Building Measures starting with a point of contact network, and tabletop exercises to enhance cooperation and share best practices. Germany makes mention of these proposals, submitted by a broad range of member states, to highlight the willingness of states to go ahead with implementation of the already existing framework of responsible state behavior. The initiative for a Programme of Action led by Egypt and France is designed to provide the platform for such implementation measures. One of the focus areas of a future POA could be the mobilization of resources, and assistance with matching resources with requests for capacity building. With its open ended mandate, the POA would be beneficial to the continuation of UN dialogue, as it would strengthen states capacities and expertise to contribute more actively to debates in all relevant UN fora, such as the Open-Ended Working Group. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Germany. Ecuador, you have floor please. 

Ecuador

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Permit me firstly, to convey that my delegation fully supports your support on modalities for this working group. With regard to the matter under discussion, Ecuador supports institutional and permanent dialogue, especially in this working group, as well as in other fora for discussion. And we promote establishing an action-oriented platform, together with efforts to guarantee a free, open and secure internet. Ecuador believes of particular importance to capacity building for the prevention and cooperation among states on cyber security. No sector should be subject to threats or risks in cyberspace, especially when it affects critical infrastructure. Strategies should be formulated together with all actors and based on the principle of transparency. Cyber security approaches technical matters, but also public policy and international relations. Given this multidisciplinary approach, we need a progressive approach to the topic, which includes gender issues [and] intergenerational issues in the strategies that may be formulated. Lastly, I wish to emphasize the need to recognize asymmetries in the capacity to implement norms, rules and principles of responsible behavior by states, as well as the possible effects of, for example, to address or to attack a particular cyber area in a particular country. There are also the challenges of rapid technological development. We believe, that while we make progress in our negotiations on international law and voluntary norms, we must also make progress on their implementation. For this reason, and also to reduce digital gaps and digital divides and to promote confidence and capacity building, Ecuador supports the creation of a Programme of Action on the subject. On this regard, my delegation joins in the statements made by Egypt and France this morning. Mr. Chair, differently from the Programme of Action on small and light weapons, Ecuador looks at a Programme of Action on cybersecurity as a point of departure toward the goal of my country to establish, in the future, a binding instrument. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much, Ecuador. Distinguished delegates, I have five more speakers under this agenda item and I would like to see if there are more requests. And I’m trying to see whether we can finish the remaining speakers this morning, and also trying to assess whether we need to continue in the afternoon. So, may I have an indication as to whether any other delegations wish to take the floor on this item, please press the button now. Thank you. I’ll give the floor now to Cuba, followed by Colombia. Cuba, please.

Mr. Chair, the United Nations, a multilateral forum par excellence, should be the main platform on which to address the concerns of member states with regard to security and the use of ICTs. Therefore, it must have a guiding role in promoting regular dialogue among states, in order to have an ICT environment which is open, secure, stable, accessible and peaceful. We support the proposals made by the non-aligned movement on this dialogue, which are contained in your position papers, submitted to the previous Open-Ended Working Group which met over 2019 – 2021. Mr. Chair, we attach high importance to the format of the Open-Ended Working Group as the first inclusive forum in which to discuss the use of ICTs in the context of international security. We support the continued work in this framework, leading to consensual outcomes supported by all member states of the United Nations; differently from those achieved previously in limited spaces such as the GGEs. We believe that the OEWG is the only space available to member states to discuss, in a transparent and inclusive manner, questions relating to cyber security and initiatives these promote. This is the intergovernmental mechanism that will make it possible to undertake regular institutional dialogue to prevent and address existing and potential threats with regard to ICTs, together with the mandate given under resolution 75/240 of the United Nations General Assembly. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much, Cuba. Colombia, you have the floor please.

Colombia

Mr. Chair. Thanks to the work of GGEs and the previous Open-Ended Working Group on ICTs and international security, we already have a responsible framework for states on acting in cyberspace, which includes international law, binding measures and confidence building measures supported by cooperation and capacity building measures. It is now necessary to make progress on concrete actions aimed at implementing the agreed framework. To this end, we need first of all, to support the capacities of states so that in an inclusive, coordinated, efficient and tailor oriented way, they can move forward. Answering your question, as to, in the long term, how can a regular institutional dialogue support action-oriented measures given the evolution of threats to peace and security entailed in the use of ICTs by states, my delegation has previously stated that we believe that establishing a cyber POA would be the ideal mechanism. The Programme of Action could be established as a permanent mechanism; action-oriented, inclusive, transparent and results based. It could operate as a compliment and in coordination with other relevant processes at the United Nations. It could aim at mapping the needs and specific needs faced by states in implementing the framework effectively, and it would support the analysis of gaps to determine priority needs and areas of action. The Programme of Action should also serve as a platform in which to exchange best practices and recommendations, to be implemented at the national and regional levels. Obviously, this would be a process promoted by states, but it would act like a platform for regular consultations with multistakeholders, including the private sector, academia and civil society to consider relevant issues. Lastly, a cyber POA could serve as a follow up mechanism to evaluate the progress and results of implementing recommendations agreed to by groups of experts and Open-Ended Working Groups, prior and current, and adopted by consensus by the General Assembly. The establishment of the Programme of Action as a mechanism for regular institutional dialogue must be a task to be undertaken by all states. It should be a space for dialogue on the collective application of the frameworks used by states in implementing and addressing ICTs, and it should serve as a platform for future developments given the growing threats and challenges. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Colombia. Poland, you have the floor please. 

Poland 

Thank you, Chair. In earlier interventions during this meeting, as well [as] during the works of the previous Open-Ended Working Group, Poland has stressed many times that our works within the UN Framework must include efforts focussing on bringing actual concrete assistance to numerous member states, in enhancing the ability to protect themselves in view of constantly growing number and complexity of threats coming from the cyberspace. We are of the belief that effective implementation of international law, norms and standards requires from the states possession of not only political will, but also of necessary tools and instruments. Therefore, Poland, welcomes and joins the Programme of Action initiative as [a] focus on practical capacity building and sharing best practices. Developed and adopted under auspices of the United Nations, we see it as a very useful platform, complementary to the works of the Open-Ended Working Group. In developing further Programme of Action, it is important to secure its inclusivity. Both in the sense of participation of interested states, as well as using available resources derived from both states and non-state actors. It is also important to apply a regional approach when it comes to identifying specific needs and offering specific solutions. In this context as the incoming Chair in office of the OSCE, Poland will seek to serve best practices and positive experiences between regional organizations and the global UN forum. I thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Poland. Costa Rica, you have the floor please

Costa Rica

Mr. Chair, like you yourself have said in your initial statement, Costa Rica believes that this new working group should follow a practical approach to promote sooner results, rather than later. We also welcome, once again, having a single platform like this Open-Ended Working Group to deal with cyber security and we believe in the force that this group can have. To that end, we must have action-based approaches. In this regard, we must prioritize the way in which we will implement positions on which we know we all agree. Several delegations have already expressed good ideas in that regard, such as national surveys, national contacts, and a voluntary repository for incident responses. While we recognize that states bear the primary responsibility on matters of their international security, we also recognize the importance of other actors in this field. Thus, the importance that they could also participate in these important dialogues. Lastly, we see that there is a need to bring this institutional dialogue closer together to those taking place at the regional level. In the case of my country, it is also important to continue and advance the dialogues taking place in this forum and also as well as the Organization of American States. Thank you. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you, Costa Rica. The last speaker on this sub-item is Russian Federation, you have the floor please.

Russia

Thank you. Mr. Chairman. The consensus final report of the Open-Ended Working Group contains a recommendation on the inadvisability of duplicating negotiation efforts in the area of international information security in several different forums. The same logic also underpins the relevant Russian-American draft resolution which was adopted, by consensus, by the UN General Assembly. In this regard, we believe that the OEWG should remain the sole universal negotiating mechanism on this issue, under the auspices of the UN. The OEWG format has already proven its effectiveness and relevance in practice. As the experience of the first group has shown, it has all the features that the international community requires at this stage; namely universality, openness, transparency, a democratic nature and decision-making by consensus. When it comes to the future prospects of negotiations on international information security under the auspices of the UN, we will be able to assess those as the discussion continues and practical results are achieved. We don’t exclude the possibility of making the OEWG mechanism a long term one, or transforming it into a permanent mechanism if states deem that necessary. Under this agenda item, we also proposed considering establishing interaction and exchange of experience on international information security between the OEWG and regional organizations in the format of regional consultations, separate sessions, intersessional events with the participation of leaders or representatives of regional organizations. I would also like to touch upon the topic of the Programme of Action to promote responsible state behavior in cyberspace, which a number of delegations raised. We believe that this initiative is still at the conceptualization stage. In our view, it requires a substantive discussion and further consideration and elaboration on a universal open and truly democratic basis; namely within the framework of this new OEWG, and we are ready to work on this during future sessions. Based on the information available so far, the Programme of Action looks more like a mechanism for reviewing the implementation of norms. We could thus discuss these issues as part of a thematic discussion on rules, norms and principles of conduct. At the same time, taking into account the rapid development of ICTs, it is fundamental not to stop at what has been achieved but rather to make further practical efforts to develop new norms; considering new initiatives of states in this area. Thank you for your attention. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much, Russian Federation. We’ve exhausted the list of speakers for the sub-item on regular institutional dialogue and with that, I would also say that we have completed, very successfully I would add, the consideration of agenda item five, and all the substantive sub items under agenda item five. I’d like to ask if delegations wish to take the floor under agenda item six: other matters. Is there any delegation that wishes to take the floor? Australia, you have the floor on the other matters. 

Australia 

Thank you Chair. I begged the room’s indulgence for a very short note on a topic that’s been raised many times this week. With sincere thanks to the Secretariat in particular for sharing their records, I’d like to note that during this week, up until close of speaking yesterday, there were 218 interventions, with 80 of those made by women speakers. To put this in context, as noted by Under-Secretary-General Nakamitsu, when she launched the Women in Cyber Fellowship in February 2020; peace deals stick better and last longer when women are at the table. UNIDIR’s Still Behind the Curve report, which focused on exploring disproportionate gender divides and disarmament discussions compared with other UN committees, found that women comprise 1/3 of diplomats are credited to first committee conferences. In first committee debates, 27% of speakers are women, this drops to 20% in forums of more specialized topics like ours. So, 37% is much better than average across peace and security. My question to this group is, can we continue to make progress? I sincerely hope so. I’d also like to take the opportunity to thank the Secretariat and the Chair’s team, as well as the advisors and the lawyers and the experts that are sitting behind all of us in these rooms. Or as in my case, staying up through the night on the other side of the world, to support us. Gender aside, the people in this room can only do what we do with the support of our amazing teams, and they deserve our heartfelt thanks. Thank you, Chair. 

Ambassador Gafoor 

Thank you very much, Australia, I certainly would echo your sentiments in terms of expressing my own appreciation to all those experts and colleagues and officials who work alongside us but also who have been working and following the discussions from capitals, in spite of the time difference. Are there any other delegations that wish to take the floor under other matters? There are no further requests for the floor. I therefore would like to go to the closing of the session and I see that we have about five minutes and I’d like to very quickly share some concluding reflections, and I hope I’ll have the indulgence of the interpreters for a few minutes beyond the usual scheduled time and I thank them in advance. Distinguished delegates, I don’t want to provide a summary of what has been a very rich, substantive, and I would venture to say, a very productive and meaningful week for all of us here, but I wanted to share some very quick reflections from the podium. First, my overall assessment is that we’ve had a very productive and substantive session and this was indeed the first substantive session, as all of you know, and I think we succeeded in addressing all the substantive issues on the agenda. In particular agenda item five, including agenda item six. And the discussions on agenda item five, indicates quite clearly that we have made a good start on the substantive issues and that there is a lot of political political commitment to begin and continue the substantive work of this working group. Second, there is a lot of interest and participation in this working group and I’m very, very grateful for that. As our colleague from Australia mentioned, over the last week, we have heard more than 200 statements from more than 80 delegations on the various sub-items on the agenda item five, as well as other agenda items. And indeed, as our colleague from Australia said, more than 80 of those statements were delivered by female representatives. And I thank very much Australia’s leadership and I think it was also Mexico that had partnered with Australia, in supporting the Women in Cyber fellows and I thank all the sponsoring country countries for this initiative. I think this week has also been a good week from the gender dimension and I think this is something that is worthwhile. Third, I would say that the tone of the discussion throughout the week has been constructive. It has been a little tense sometimes, but it has been fundamentally constructive and positive, and my sense is that there has been and there continues to be willingness to engage in the details, not just repeating statements from the last session but to go into an additional level of details. I was struck by how thoughtful and detailed the statements have been. So, it is quite clear that delegations and officials in capitals have given a lot of thought by putting forward very specific ideas concrete proposals that we can consider in this working group. And this high level of interest also shows the importance of the issues that we are dealing with. And for me, this week, has shown to all of us clearly that there is a need for a process like the Open-Ended Working Group, and that the Open-Ended Working Group is not only useful and relevant but necessary and critical in building understanding, building trust and strengthening international cooperation on this very important issue. Now, fourthly, I mentioned right at the beginning of the week that the OEWG is in itself a CBM measure, and I think beyond listening to each other in the formal meetings, I know that delegations have been reaching out and talking to each other. This is very, very good and very much needed. Now, talking to each other does not mean we will agree with each other, all the time. But this dialogue and understanding gives me hope that we will continue the positive momentum that we have started at this first Open-Ended Working Group. And I hope that all delegations will see the value of this working group as a confidence building exercise and a trust building exercise, as we continue to listen to each other and work with each other. The fifth observation, or reflection, I’d like to say is that given the very high level of interest, comes with the attendant high level of expectation, in terms of what the working group can deliver., in terms of outcomes and results. This week, I’ve heard so many concrete and useful suggestions, which leads me to believe that there’s a lot of good work ahead of us. Many ideas have been put forward; many references to how we can further strengthen the national points of contact network, tabletop exercises for POCs. The idea of a cyber fellowship programme, further strengthening the unitary cyber policy portal, looking at new norms, and clarifying existing norms. This shows that there has been a lot of thought and reflection since the work of the last OEWG. But this also shows that members have very high expectations of results and I’m confident that given the conversation and the political will that I sense, we can show some early results. We can demonstrate that we can produce outcomes, sooner rather than later. If we do not deliver early results, I think as I said at the beginning of the week, we will rapidly lose the participation and engagement of many delegations who are looking to this process for results. The sixth point I want to say is that, of relating to stakeholders, I’ve already made my views very clear this morning and I’m very encouraged by all that I’ve heard. I know that all delegations are also reflecting on this very important issue. I have had intensive consultations throughout the week and I know that, in a process that involves 193 countries, it is normal that we don’t have a consensus instantaneously; that is what the UN is about. That is what multilateralism is about. In order to go far, we need to go together and that sometimes takes time. But I’m confident and cautiously optimistic that a consensus solution is possible. My seventh and last point is this: this week may feel like a long journey, and it certainly has for me but we have only taken the first step in a long journey. I think there’s a Chinese saying that a journey of 1000 miles begins with the first step; I think we have made a first step. It has been in my view, a meaningful step and a fairly substantive one. And I said on Monday that this is a five year process, and therefore it is important to adopt a longer term perspective in terms of our work in this process, and to put it differently, the Open Ended Wrking Group is not a sprint, but it is a marathon. And in a marathon, what is important? It is not how fast you run the first mile, it is how strong you finish the last mile. And if you don’t understand what I’m trying to say, do sign up for a marathon. This week, I think we ran a good first mile but we have many more miles to go; to go far and to go together and we need to run this marathon together so that we finish strong, and in a very meaningful and substantive way for not only our own countries, but also for so many people around the world and our own citizens. So with those comments, I’d like to conclude the session by thanking all of you, especially those who have traveled very far. I will go through all the statements that I’ve heard, all the statements that have been uploaded on the e-statements portal, and I will already start preparing and thinking for the second substantive session, in terms of how we can structure and organize our work. I will also circulate the logistical arrangements as soon as that is possible; possibly about a month before the second substantive session. And before I end on behalf of all in my team, I thank you all for the support that you have given the Chair; your support and help and guidance will continue to be needed. I wish all of you a very happy holiday season. Merry Christmas to those who celebrate and a Happy New Year, and I look forward to our continuous engagement and to see you all at our next substantive session. Have a safe journey home. The meeting is adjourned, I thank you.

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