Reports issued in recent years by the United Nations Groups of Governmental Experts (GGEs) on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security have significantly altered the political landscape for international cooperation on security issues in cyberspace. The GGE’s 2013 Report, which included an agreement among participating states that international law applies in cyberspace, set important precedents for norms and other cooperative measures that will shape future discussion of cybersecurity. More recently, the 2015 Report included a reaffirmation of the applicability of international law, and for the first time, a list of voluntary norms for state in cyberspace during peace time. It also included a norm that “States should seek to prevent the proliferation of malicious ICT tools and techniques and the use of harmful hidden functions.” A new GGE is slated to begin work in August 2016.
This seminar considered how the international community can operationalize and build upon these consensus reports—and generate momentum for a successful 2016-2017 GGE. The seminar brought together stakeholders from the Geneva diplomatic community, industry, and capital-based policymakers to discuss and explore how to leverage the GGE process to promote a peaceful, stable and secure cyber environment.