Commonwealth proposes Cyber Governance model

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Supporting the global efforts in strengthening the safety, security and resilience of Cyberspace, the Commonwealth Cybersecurity Forum 2013, organised by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), was declared open today at the Palais de Congress, Yaoundé, Cameroon by Hon Jean-Pierre Biyiti Bi Essam, Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Republic of Cameroon, representing Hon Philemon Yang, the Prime Minister of Cameroon. Delivering his address, Hon Biyiti Bi Essam referred to the central role Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) play in economic development.

He referred to the evidence which suggests that a 10% growth in broadband penetration contributes to the growth of Gross Domestic Product by 1.38%, but also noted that this growth can only be realised if the ICT channels remain safe, secure and resilient. Inviting the delegates to take advantage of the impressive line up of speakers whose expertise covers almost every aspect of Cybersecurity; Hon Biyiti Bi Essam encouraged the CTO to continue to help the Commonwealth build robust Cybersecurity frameworks and help facilitate inter-Commonwealth coordination.

The Plenary that followed the ceremonial opening examined how Cyberspace could be governed and utilised in a manner to foster freedom and entrepreneurship, while protecting individuals, property and the state, leading to socio-economic development. Speakers of this session, Mr Mario Maniewicz, Chief, Department of Infrastructure, Enabling Environment and E-Applications, ITU; Mr David Pollington, Director, International Security Relations, Microsoft; Mr Alexander Seger, Secretary, Cyber-crime Convention Committee, Council of Europe; Mr Nigel Hickson, Vice President, Europe, ICANN and Mr Pierre Dandjinou, Vice President, Africa, ICANN, added their perspectives on various approaches to Cyber-governance, with general agreement on the role Cyberspace could play to facilitate development equitably and fairly across the world.

While taking the delegates through the range of activities CTO has undertaken to help its members secure their ICT channels, Prof Tim Unwin, Secretary General, CTO, informed delegates of the organisation’s plans to develop a unique Commonwealth model for Cyber-governance. Voicing the commitment of the UK for the CTO’s endeavors to develop such a model, Mr Jamie Saunders, Director, Cyber Policy, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK, confirmed the UK’s funding support to the project.

The event will continue to consider many other aspects of Cybersecurity and Cyber-governance, including legal frameworks, international cooperation and technical measures until 26th April. A series of workshops on Child Online Protection, a project jointly implemented by the ITU and CTO in Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Mauritius and Sierra Leone, on 22nd to 24th April, a special briefing session for Commonwealth Parliamentarians on Electronic Commerce and Cyber laws on 24th April co-organized with UNCTAD and the Commonwealth Parliamentarians Association, and a Practitioners’ Workshop on Critical Information Infrastructure Protection on 25th April facilitated by Microsoft and the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST), supplement the line up of activities, held during the week.

Hosted by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications of Cameroon together with the Telecommunications Regulatory Board of Cameroon and backed by partners and industry supporters including ICANN, Council of Europe, Microsoft, MTN Cameroon, AFRINIC and Internet Watch Foundation, the Commonwealth Cybersecurity Forum 2013 seeks to broaden stakeholder dialogue to facilitate practical action in Cyber-governance and Cybersecurity, some of which will be reflected in the CTO’s own work programmes under its Cybersecurity agenda.