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The Commonwealth want UN Cybersecurity Coordination

Amie Haven

Amie Haven, Editor / Writer

The Commonwealth present the UN with a vision of diversity, online rights, and coordinated cybersecurity

Speaking on behalf of the 54 Commonwealth Member States, the UK outlined a future of coordinated cybersecurity at the United Nations (UN) on 10 February 2020. The UK Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Jonathan Allen, addressed the UN Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) on developments in ICTs in the context of international security. 

The Commonwealth of 54 diverse states has agreed its own set of coordinated cybersecurity principles in the 2018 Commonwealth Cyber Declaration. According to Allen’s statement, the declaration “reflects Commonwealth values, and sets out a common commitment to a free, open, inclusive and secure cyberspace.”

Allen highlights the need for coordinated cybersecurity measures that embrace the diversity of states whilst promoting online rights and sustainable development. As part of an integrated approach to cybersecurity, Commonwealth States have created networks that share knowledge, expertise, and intelligence.

One of the main aims of the UN OEWG is to generate “common understandings” around cybersecurity threats and agree cooperative ways of tackling them. A recent cyberattack on the Defence Information Systems Agency (DISA) in the US highlights the prevalence of attacks on high-profile targets. DISA is a Department of Defence (DoD) agency responsible for monitoring military communication networks.

A DoD spokesperson told the BBC, “DoD networks are under attack daily and the department maintains an active posture to thwart those attacks.”

Commonwealth States will be meeting again in June 2020, whilst the OEWG will reconvene in July 2020. Future meetings will reveal whether diverse states can agree mutually beneficial cybersecurity measures whilst supporting online rights and sustainable development.

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