Why we must work together to face today’s ICT security challenges

shutterstock_304056263_600x310It is clear that the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can only be achieved by leveraging information and communication technologies (ICTs).

More than ever, ICTs form the backbone of today’s digital economy. They can create a better place to be informed, to be educated, to receive healthcare, to be productive and enjoy a better standard of living.

But cybersecurity and trust are key for ICTs to achieve their full potential. Without a trusted cyberspace, it is unlikely that the SDGs will be met.

New and rising risks have pushed cybersecurity to the top of the agenda for both the public and private sectors. This is important, because we will all have to work together to find solutions to today’s urgent global cybersecurity challenges.

Indeed, developing resilient cybersecurity capabilities requires coordination across a range of different stakeholders – including government, industry and academia.

Top experts agree: coordination is key

This is a central point in my keynote speech today at the Carnegie Colloquium on Digital Governance and Security, where I am joined by top policy and technical experts from government, business, and academia.

The experts gathered at the Colloquium highlight the importance of different stakeholders working together towards finding solutions to ensure that everyone is able to benefit from safe and secure connectivity.

These included Lt. Gen. Robert E. Schmidle, Jr., former Deputy Commander for U.S. Cyber Command, Ariel Levite, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Fadi Chehade, senior adviser to the executive chairman of the World Economic Forum and former president and chief executive officer of ICANN, and Eileen Donahoe, distinguished fellow at the Center for International Governance Innovation and first US ambassador to UN Human Rights Council, who discussed some of the major issues in cyber deterrence and the future of Internet governance.

ITU’s role 

For over 150 years, ITU has worked to bring the benefits of secure and trustworthy ICTs to all – both through our work in radiocommunications, standardization and development, and by being a platform for a wide range of stakeholders from all nations.

Security of communications has long been part of ITU’s work and this was recognised by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in 2005 when ITU was entrusted as the sole facilitator for Action Line C5 ‘Building confidence and security in the use of ICTs’.

There are many organisations and stakeholders addressing this issue and ITU has been working hard to bring them together to forge meaningful partnerships to help countries define their national cybersecurity strategy, set up their computer incident response teams, deploy international security standards in their infrastructure, protect children online, and build the necessary human capacity and skills.

To help develop a globally coordinated response to cybersecurity, ITU has partnered with 15 other organizations, including GCSCC University of OxfordMicrosoft, NATO CCDCOE, UNCTAD and the World Bank, to produce a reference guide on devising a national cybersecurity strategy. This will outline the existing relevant models and resources as well as offer an overview of the assistance available from various organizations. It will also provide a tool that will allow for the evaluation of a strategy. It will be published in the first half of next year.

To fully realize the benefits of the information society and to harness the power and potential of ICTs, partnerships such as this will be essential.

To achieve global connectivity for all people and communities, governments, industry, academia, governmental and non-governmental organisations and civil society all need to come together in ever more innovative public-private partnerships.

Cooperation, coordination and collaboration are key. We need to work together, bringing our respective competencies and skills, pooling resources and avoiding duplication so as to work cohesively toward the attainment of the SDGs.

Malcolm Johnson

MJ DSGMalcolm Johnson (@ITU_DSGwas elected ITU Deputy Secretary General at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2014 in Busan, Republic of Korea. Mr. Johnson was elected as Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in 2006 in Antalya, Turkey and was re-elected at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2010 in Guadalajara, Mexico.

One comment

  1. Amen….the world is crying out for leadership in the new economy and ICT can provide the world w quite a few answers.John M. Eger

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