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Capacity development

2018

In order to answer to industry shortages, the United Kingdom has launched a new cyber skills strategy that will be supported by a newly formed independent body. The move confirms that cybersecurity will remain an important priority of the government and "central not only to our national security but also fundamental to becoming the world’s best digital economy". The launch of the strategy was preceded by a two-year multi-sectoral consultation process and a research into cybersecurity skills gap in the country.

Re:publica, Europe’s largest conference on the topics of Internet and digital society has successfully concluded its first ever conference Africa in Accra, Ghana dubbed Re:publica Accra. The 2-day conference which took place on the 14-15 December 2018 was organized in collaboration with Impact Hub Accra with support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Corporation and Development (BMZ). The conference discussed issues on such topics as Net Neutrality, Data Protection, Civil Rights and other digital and societal issues bothering on ‘Access’, ‘Gender’, ‘Waste’, ‘Future’, ‘Tech for Good’ among others.

At the opening of the annual UN Internet Governance Forum (IGF), held at UNESCO premises in Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron launched the “Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace”, a high-level declaration on developing common principles for securing cyberspace. The Paris Call builds on the WSIS Tunis Agenda’s definition of the ‘respective roles’ of states and other stakeholders. It also resonates with the UN Group of Governmental Experts reaffirmation that international law applies to cyberspace. The declaration invites for support to victims both during peacetime and armed conflict, reaffirms Budapest Convention as the key tool for combating cybercrime, recognises the responsibility of private sector for products security, and calls for broad digital cooperation and capacity-building. It than invites signatories to, among other, prevent damaging general availability or integrity of the public core of the Internet, foreign intervention in electoral processes, ICT-enabled theft of intellectual property for competitive advantage, and non-state actors from ‘hacking-back’. The Paris Call has strong initial support from hundreds of signatories, including leading tech companies and many governments. Yet the USA, Russia, and China are missing. The declaration and its effects will be discussed again during the Paris Peace Forum in 2019, as well as during the IGF 2019 in Berlin.

At the first official update to the community, Jovan Kurbalija used a virtual town hall meeting to talk about the role of capacity development in the work of the High-Level Panel on Digital Co-operation. He stressed that all stakeholders need capacity development to deal with digital policy issues and that the process of the Panel as such already increases the capacity due to its efforts for inclusivity. In fact, capacity development has been one of the success criteria as identified by the UN Secretary General. Kurbalija reassured that the Panel work will not just bring general concepts but will try to submit suggestions for very concrete next steps.

The UN High-Level Political Forum took place in New York earlier this month. DiploFoundation and the Geneva Internet Platform covered all sessions related to data and digital policy. Certain sessions also addressed the issue of capacity building, noting that it requires financial resources and knowledge sharing. While the additional amount of money needed to fund SDG data - annually about USD$ 200 million - is relatively small compared to the sum needed for SDG implementation, there is an important funding gap. To close this gap, there is a need for political support and awareness, and a change of the perception about the utility of official statistics among policymakers. This also requires smoothening the relation between policymakers and data producers, with NSIs demonstrating the power of data; ‘unless data is made valuable, we won’t get the wallets to open up’. Finally, partnerships with civil society, academia, and the private sector will be key. These sectors could address gaps in data and methodologies, and share the burden of work.

The European Commission has announced a set of measures to 'put artificial intelligence (AI) at the service of European and boost Europe's competitiveness in this field'. The measures, detailed in a Communication, are built on three main pillars. First, the Commission plans to invest €1,5 billion by 2020 in AI research and innovation, as well as to stimulate more private investments in AI by mobilising more than €500 million in the framework of its European Fund for Strategic Investments. To stimulate the development of AI technologies, which are based on data, the Commission is proposing legislation to increase the availability of data for re-use and to facilitate the sharing of data. Second, the Commission will support stakeholders prepare for socio-economic changes brought about by AI, especially in the fields of education, training, and labour, through actions such as encouraging business-education partnership to attract and retain AI talent, setting up dedicated (re)training schemes, and supporting traineeships and other capacity development programmes in advanced digital skills. Third, the EU executive body will work on a set of ethical guidelines on AI development, to be presented by the end of 2018. It will also issue guidelines on how the Product Liability Directive applies in the context of new technologies to ensure 'legal clarity for consumers and producers'.

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