Regular institutional dialogue

17 Dec 2021 20:00h - 23:00h

Event report

India, Iran, and Pakistan expressed support for a regular institutional dialogue under the auspices of the UN. India stressed that the regular institutional dialogue (RID) would enable implementation and monitoring of the cyber norms already agreed upon in the UN GGE and OEWG reports. In its opinion, institutional dialogue under UN auspices would support the prevention of conflicts in the ICT environment. Pakistan is of the view that the UN should continue to play a central role in promoting dialogue. Iran supports the central role of the UN in advancing security in the ICTs environment and believes that a peaceful cyberspace requires a legally binding instrument that would lead to holding actors accountable for their malicious cyber activity. 

Costa Rica highlighted the necessity of action-based approaches. It welcomes the ideas of establishing national surveys and national contact points.

Cuba, Indonesia, and Russia endorsed the OEWG. Indonesia sees the OEWG process as the only multilateral and inclusive intergovernmental body to address the subject of international security in the use of ICTs. According to the Russian Federation, the OEWG format has already proven its effectiveness and relevance. As the experience of the first OEWG has shown, it has all the features that the international community requires. Russia does not exclude the possibility of making the OEWG a long-term mechanism or its transformation into a permanent mechanism if states find it necessary.

The Programme of Action (PoA)

The PoA was much discussed. France, as one of the POA sponsoring countries, along with Egypt, drew attention to the submittal of a Working paper for a Programme of Action (PoA). France shared core elements which the proposal consists of: the PoA should seek to establish an institutional structure that would be permanent – a platform that could tackle concrete projects such as, for instance, capacity building, and could ensure regular follow-up through periodic meetings. The PoA could regularly assess progress made in the implementation of those norms, analyse the evolution of needs expressed by the states, and identify, if necessary, new priority areas of action.

With regard to the possible modalities for the establishment of the PoA, Egypt said that inclusive consultations will be conducted to seek states’ views on the PoA. The consultations would provide opportunities to share and discuss further options for modalities, as well as analysis and lessons learned from previous program actions such as the Program of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons.

Chile, the Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, and Ukraine expressed their support for the PoA.

Austria, Columbia, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland on behalf of Nordic states, Ireland, Latvia, the Netherlands, South Korea, Switzerland, and the UK also noted that the PoA could help states focus on the implementation of the agreed upon normative framework. In Ecuador’s view, the PoA also represents a point of departure toward establishing a legally binding instrument in the future.

A number of countries also noted that the PoA could help facilitate cyber capacity-building. These include Argentina, Ecuador, Germany, Finland on behalf of Nordic states, Ireland, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Switzerland, and Romania. 

Some countries, such as the Netherlands, also underlined that future dialogue should not duplicate the existing UN mandates or efforts. Germany considers that the PoA would strengthen states’ capacities and expertise to contribute more actively to debates in all relevant UN fora such as the OEWG. Colombia, the EU on behalf of the EU member states, Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Albania, Ireland, Poland, Romania, and Switzerland also stressed that the PoA is complementary to the OEWG

In the EU’s view, the OEWG could hold informal meetings with participants in order to exchange views on challenges for implementation, providing valuable input for the establishment of the PoA. The OEWG could facilitate timely and dedicated exchanges on the PoA, including the participation of the multistakeholder community.

Australia aligned itself with the statements of France, the EU, and Egypt on their points on the PoA.

Considering inclusiveness and effectiveness, Israel is of the view that a dialogue on ICT should be of a voluntary and non-legally binding nature. It considers it premature to adopt a position on the PoA since the modalities and characteristics are not yet clear.

Russia views the PoA as a mechanism for reviewing the implementation of norms, and suggested that it could be discussed as part of thematic discussion on rules, norms, and principles of conduct.