The Role of the Commonwealth in Cyberspace

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by Lasantha De Alwis

Head of Corporate Services of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (the Commonwealth agency mandated in the field of ICTs)

mail: l.dealwis@cto.int

Published in: Technology, Economy & Finance
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The Role of the Commonwealth in Cyberspace

  1. 1. Emancipating, Enriching, Equalising and Empowering through the use of ICTs The Role of the Commonwealth in Cyberspace 30 October 2013
  2. 2. The Commonwealth • • • • • • • 54 Member Countries Nearly  a  third  of  the  World’s  population Combined GDP over £5 trillion Mobile subscriptions ranging from 5% to 185%, with an average of 84% Fixed telephone lines ranging from 0.3% to 60%, with an average of 18% Internet usage ranging from 1% to 85%, with an average of 28% A thriving hub of technology innovations and possibly the largest ICT market in the world 2
  3. 3. The CTO • Set up in 1901 • The oldest and the largest Commonwealth organisation in the field of ICTs • support members in using ICTs to deliver effective development interventions that enrich, empower, equalise and emancipate all peoples within the Commonwealth and beyond • Traditional core activities • Research & consultancy • Capacity development & training • Events & conferences • Cybergovernance and Cybersecurity are focus areas under the strategic plan of 2012-16 3
  4. 4. Context • Cyberspace generates enormous social and economic benefits • Cyber population is growing – Improving connectivity – national and international – Broadband Commission & A4AI on promoting Broadband • Meeting place of different people & cultures, views & approaches • Requires fostering entrepreneurship and innovation while protecting freedom and liberty • Where to strike the balance? • Multi jurisdictional - Both national and international aspects - interlinked 4
  5. 5. Cybergovernance conceptualised 5
  6. 6. e-Bay - Community Action in Cybergovernance • • • • • Population exceeded 100 million by end 2011 Commercially driven community Multi jurisdictional Operates on the basis of voluntary compliance Motivation - Need to belong 6
  7. 7. Divergence • Multistakeholder approach Vs. State-driven • Voluntary norms Vs Treaty based • Brought to sharp contrast at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in December 2012 in Dubai • Some concerns about the role of the State in Governing the Cyberspace through International Telecommunications Regulations. • Disagreement  over  “resolving  to  instruct  the  SecretaryGeneral to continue to take the necessary steps for ITU to play  an  active  and  constructive  role” • Apparently so far 89 signatories out of 190 signatories 7
  8. 8. Commonwealth in Cybergovernance • Commonwealth has a role to play • Based on the Commonwealth Values agreed at the Singapore CHOGM in 1971 and reaffirmed in Harare in 1991 • Detailed in the Commonwealth Charter of 2013 (http://thecommonwealth.org/sites/default/files/page/docum ents/CharteroftheCommonwealth.pdf), particularly – respect for the protection and promotion of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development – commitment to remove disparities and unequal living standards as guided by internationally agreed development goals – recognise the importance of ICTs as instruments of development ......... as well as for ........... sharing of cultures, while enhancing security. 8
  9. 9. CTO’s  approach  to   Cybergovernance Develop a set of principles Based on Commonwealth principles Arrived through consensus Involving consultations of a range of stakeholders policy makers, regulators, ICT implementing agencies, CERTs etc • Leveraging the strengths of developed countries to assist developing countries • That may eventually expand beyond the Commonwealth • • • • 9
  10. 10. CTO’s  Principles  of   Cybergovernance Foster innovation, freedom and understanding Contribute to economic development Enable social interactions Recognise legitimate economic, cultural and security concerns of members • Promote multistakeholder partnerships • Facilitate Pan-Commonwealth consultations and international linkages • • • • 10
  11. 11. Progress – so far • The first consultation of ICT policy makers and regulators was held on 9th and 10th October 2013 in Abuja, Nigeria • Delegates from over 20 Commonwealth countries – decided that the CTO should take the lead in developing the Commonwealth Cybergovernance Model – committed to support the initiative Issued the Abuja Declaration http://www.cto.int/focus-themes/cybersecurity/ 11
  12. 12. Next Steps • A series of regional consultations • Starting with a Caribbean Ministerial Consultation on 5th December 2013 in Jamaica in the margins of the Caribbean Telecommunication  Union’s  Ministerial  meeting     • Culminating  in  the  Commonwealth  ICT  Minister’s   meeting at the Marlborough House in London on 3 – 4 March 2014 where the principles will be debated and, if thought fit, adopted. 12
  13. 13. Aims & Objectives • Create a standard all can subscribe to, resulting in better international cooperation and coordination • Act as a beacon for non-Commonwealth countries • Provide an assurance to countries that extend assistance that their aid is properly used In order to make the Cyberspace a thriving, innovative and rewarding place 13
  14. 14. How to get involved • Take part in the consultations – when invited • Join related activities – Cybersecurity Forum 2014 in London (5 – 7 March 2014) • Participate in capacity building in Cyberrelated subjects through CTO 14
  15. 15. Lasantha De Alwis Director/Head of Operations Department Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation 94-66, Glenthorne Road, Hammersmith, UK +44(0)208 600 3814 l.dealwis@cto.int 15

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