Cybersecurity digest (August 2019)

9 Sep 2019

This extract is taken from the August 2019 issue of The digest, GPD’s newsletter. Sign up here.

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The main development on cyber norms in August was the UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) regional consultation for the Americas.

The meeting—which took place from 15-16 August in Washington DC—was organised by the Organization of American States (OAS) to coordinate input from stakeholders across the region into upcoming GGE discussions. Read our summary and key takeaways here.

This was the third of five planned GGE regional consultations. The two remaining ones, with the ASEAN Regional Forum and African Union (AU), are scheduled for October. Will they offer opportunities for meaningful input from non-governmental stakeholders? So far, all we’ve heard is that the AU consultation will include a short multistakeholder segment. We’ll share updates when we know more.

August also brought some disappointing news from the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) process. All 18 of the non-Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) organisations that applied to join its first substantive meeting on 9-12 September have been denied access, following objections from some member states.

The full list of groups (which, for disclosure, includes GPD) can be found on Annex A of this document. It is notable for the diversity and breadth of expertise on cybersecurity it would have offered—bringing together leading human rights organisations and think tanks alongside representatives from key fractions of the private sector. Unless they manage to get accredited by ECOSOC NGOs—unlikely, given the short lead time—these groups will have no chance to input into the first substantive session of the OEWG.

GPD will be in New York to observe the first substantive meeting and report back. You can find the agenda here, along with the OEWG Chair’s letter to Member States, which explains the format for the meeting and outlines the main presentations. And you can watch proceedings from the meeting on UN Web TV.

Notes

  • This isn’t the end of the line for non-governmental input at the OEWG. A multistakeholder intersessional is still planned for the start of December (1-3), and there are still two substantive sessions where we can push for greater inclusion.
  • We’ve launched a brand new info hub to help you keep track of updates and developments at the First Committee, GGE and OEWG, along with a guide to engaging in them.
  • This month we also discovered this GGE/OEWG explainer by the Geneva Internet Platform, which includes a useful visualisation comparing the two processes.