France and partners propose a programme of action for advancing responsible state behaviour in cyberspace

France, with Egypt and over 40 other states, proposed a Programme of Action (PoA) for advancing responsible state behaviour in cyberspace, which aims at ending ‘dual track discussions’ – namely the UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) and the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) – and establishing ‘a permanent UN forum to consider the use of ICTs by States in the context of international security’. The proposal suggests the PoA to be in a single, long-term, inclusive, and progress oriented format; whose modalities could be discussed by the ongoing GGE and OEWG, while the implementation and follow-up measures could be subsequently endorsed by the UN General Assembly (UN GA). 

According to the proposal, the PoA could ‘create a framework and a political commitment’ based on the existing international framework, i.e., recommendations, norms, and principles already agreed (referred to as acquis); in particular in the 2015 UN GGE report which was adopted by UN General Assembly Resolution 70/237. The PoA would have regular annual working level meetings, focused on the implementation of the existing framework. A possible national survey of implementation of the UN GA Resolution 70/237, proposed within the current OEWG discussions, could be used as a basis. The PoA would step up co-operation and capacity building, and organise consultations with other stakeholders, regional organisations, and UN institutions, as well as relevant multistakeholder initiatives. Regular, consensus driven review conferences would take place every five years, at which states may consider if additional norms should be developed. The proposal invites the reports of the GGE and the OEWG to call for creation of the PoA.