The growing importance of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for political, economic, social, and military activity is one of the most significant trends of the current security environment. Most if not all States rely on ICTs to drive economic and social growth, and enable most critical systems. On the flip side ICTs also created a vulnerability and complexity in international relations, fostering doubt, speculation, ambiguity, and tensions as States grapple with questions of intent, attribution, rules and norms.
The reports by Groups of Governmental Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security provide valuable guidance on how to promote cyber stability between States, and regional efforts, including by the OSCE, currently focus on operationalizing elements of the GGE reports – chiefly focusing on practical measures to reduce the risks of conflict stemming from the use of ICTs.
The success of whether global and regional efforts to promote cyber stability between States will be effective in the long-run will depend on the acceptance and application of the identified practical measures and pertinent norms. The Initiative’s main objective is therefore to promote their implementation through awareness raising, practical guidance and tailored capacity building with the goal to “universalize” these measures and allow States to actively partake in efforts to enhancing cyber stability between States. A particular focus in this respect will be on the close co-operation with other regional organizations working on confidence building measures to reduce the risks of conflict stemming from the use of ICTs to ensure global coherence such as the OAS, AU and ASEAN ARF.
How can greater awareness of these processes help GFCE members?
This initiative will allow GFCE members:
- To gain a comprehensive understanding of efforts and interlinkages between norms of responsible state behavior in cyberspace, CBMs and capacity building initiatives;
- To receive guidance on how to mainstream and implement measures on the national and sub-regional level through the sharing of good practices;
- To receive practical assistance with efforts to implement measures on the national level including by leveraging other GFCE initiatives;
- To co-ordinate work with other GFCE initiatives that may not directly enhance capacities for the purpose of enhancing cyber stability between States yet are highly relevant to achieving this goal (see e.g. efforts on effective cyber security strategies).
Expected outcomes in 2017
First meeting by interested parties and supporters of the initiative to develop a workplan, and to identify concrete activities.
Participating Membes and Partners
Participation in this initiative is open to all members of the GFCE.
Ideal Partners would be regional organizations, States and private sector entities with a keen interest in international cyber policy (e.g. OAS, ARF, AU, US, UK, France, Spain, South Korea, Japan, Australia, Microsoft etc.)
UNGGE 2010, 2013 and 2015 reports; OSCE PC.DEC 1039, 1106, 1202; OSCE MC.DEC/5/16.