Cybersecurity digest (July 2019)

1 Aug 2019

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


After a busy June for cyber norms, July was relatively quiet at the First Committee.

Even so, there are a few important things anyone engaging should be aware of:

  1. The schedule for the first substantive September meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) will be published online here in August, along with information about opportunities for non-governmental stakeholder engagement.
  2. This meeting will be used to gauge perspectives on the six main areas included in the agenda from the organisational meeting in June. There’s also likely to be a strong focus on making sure the OEWG’s agenda aligns with the Group of Government Experts’, a priority identified by the Chairs of both processes.

This month also saw continuing media coverage of the use of cyber capabilities by states, including the targeting of civilian infrastructure—underscoring the importance and timeliness of these discussions.

But the big focus in July for GPD’s cyber team was on a different strand of work: promoting an inclusive and value-based approach to cybersecurity strategy development across Commonwealth countries, as part of a project supported by the UK Foreign Office.

A few noteworthy things that happened here:

  • Our Executive Director, Lea Kaspar, and Programme Lead, Dani Schnidrig, went to Fiji to gain insight into the cybersecurity landscape in the Pacific region.
  • We were invited by the government of Belize and the Organization of American States to participate in a National Cybersecurity Strategy (NCSS) drafting retreat with the country’s Task Force. The retreat was instrumental in advancing the first draft, and we’re looking forward to the open consultation process (beginning at the end of August), where stakeholders will be invited and encouraged to provide feedback.
  • We attended a workshop in Accra led by our partner ACDRO (Africa Cybersecurity and Digital Rights Organisation), aimed at building capacity among local civil society and increasing their engagement in Ghana’s NCSS review. You can read coverage of the workshop here and here.
  • In Sierra Leone, we have been collaborating with the Ministry of Information and Communications on their national cybersecurity strategy development, with a focus on information-sharing and gathering stakeholder input. After a successful workshop in March, this month we met with Minister Mohamed Swaray to discuss next steps.