Two UN resolutions on OEWG and GGE adopted

The UNGA First Committee adopted two competing resolutions on the future of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on advancing responsible state behaviour in cyberspace in the context of international security, and the Open-Ended Working Group on developments in the field of ICTs in the context of international security (OEWG). 

Resolution A/C.1/75/L.4 put forward by the USA and its allies calls on states to wait until the current GGE and OEWG meetings are completed and their outcomes considered by the UNGA (i.e., autumn 2021). The UNGA should then decide on any future work, as needed. The resolution invites states to provide views on cybersecurity efforts at the national level, and their understanding of the key concepts mentioned in previous GGE reports. 

Resolution A/C.1/75/L.8 put forward by Russia and its allies, on the other hand, renews the OEWG for a period of five years – 2021 to 2025 – with the same mandate. The resolution mandates that the organisational session of the new OEWG be held in 2021 and includes the establishment of thematic subgroups, allowing interaction with other stakeholders. In addition to an annual progress report, the group is to provide a final report to the 80th UNGA, starting in autumn 2025. This resolution puts the combatting of the dissemination of false or distorted news firmly within the state’s sovereignty and considers that such behaviour could count as interference in the internal affairs of a state. It further recognises the duty of states to abstain from ‘any defamatory campaign, vilification or hostile propaganda for the purpose of intervening or interfering in the internal affairs of other states’. 

The US-sponsored resolution was adopted with 153 votes in favour, while the Russian-sponsored one was adopted with 104 votes, which signals that number of countries have voted for both.