First Substantive Session Open-ended Working Group
Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security
I wish to congratulate Ambassador Jürg Lauber of Switzerland for his election as Chair of this important Open-Ended Working Group. The Philippines strongly supports your leadership and the work of this Working Group, and we look forward to a meaningful outcome resulting from a friendly and frank exchange among the delegations.
We are gathered today because we recognize that cybersecurity is a pressing global concern. Each Member State now pursues national efforts to secure critical networks and to respond to threats to security of information and telecommunications at the international level. International cooperation on cybercrime, including cooperative efforts to develop effective national legislation, is a major focus for national efforts, given cybercrime’s transnational nature and the close relationship between crime and national security in cyberspace. The same tools used for crime can be used for espionage or attack, and cybercriminals could be recruited to serve national purposes. Thus, the international community has been developing a number of multilateral instruments, and they are sometimes cooperative and sometimes competing.
The Philippines is considered a major hub for social networking, and it has its vulnerabilities to cyberattacks. In 2016, government websites were subjected to attacks including attempts at hacking and defacement. The importance for the Philippines of information security is reflected not only in our National CyberSecurity Plan, but also in our National Security Strategy. The programs under our national plan aim to ensure the protection of critical infrastructure, the government itself, businesses and supply chains, as well as individuals. Our national strategy, on the other hand, laid down the government’s strategic actions on cybersecurity. Specifically, our Department of Information and Communications Technology is implementing the government’s Cyber Security Plan 2022, which aims to ensure protection, resiliency, and public awareness. We also have in place the requisite laws to address issues on information security.
At the international level, the Philippines sees the importance of efforts to collectively address disruptive global threats. We however also recognize the challenges in addressing the divergent interests of Member States and forging a common approach toward achieving our shared goal.
There is a multitude of options that could be pursued, and I shall highlight a few of them, as follows:
- International and regional cooperation among states is an imperative. Cooperation requires continuing dialogue to reduce and anticipate the risks and protect critical national and international infrastructures. Cooperation would lead to the establishment of mechanisms to provide remedies to problems faced by states. Cooperation could focus not only on addressing the threats but also on the opportunities brought about by the use of technology.
- Leaders from industry, academia, and civil society should work together with governments to prevent cyber conflict, restrict offensive cyber operations by nonstate actors, and mitigate the daily economic threats that the use of technology poses to the global economy. We need an approach that is inclusive, comprehensive, and responsive.
- The implementation of existing norms such as those arising from the previous UN Group of Government Experts is important. The GGE’s 2015 report provided the foundation for an internationally known governmental code of conduct for information and telecommunications.
- We see the importance of enabling an easier cyber incident attribution. This will help verify compliance with principles of international law such as noninterference in the internal affairs of other governments and holding states more responsible for what happens in their cyber realm.
- It is important to aim, where possible, for the standardization and universalization of legislations by sharing best practices on a global scale and comparing individual state legislations and legal platforms.
- A very important aspect that needs attention is capacity building. How could the work of this Working Group facilitate the provision of assistance to states that lack the capacity to thwart cyber threats?
I wish to highlight the crucial role of confidence building among Member States in our efforts to address the challenges in the field of information and telecommunications. How could we foster greater cooperation and nurture trust among Member States? Aiming for a goal that benefits the collective is a loftier ambition than being content with holding on to entrenched positions. In order for us to move forward, my delegation believes that we must give acute focus on building trust and confidence to facilitate our work in the days and months ahead.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.