I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the Republic of Moldova, and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
The EU and its Member States strongly promote a global, open, free, stable and secure cyberspace where international law, including respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms fully apply, supporting social, political and economic development. We recall the important work achieved by the international community to advance international security and stability in cyberspace, as well as to address cyber threats. The cyber threat landscape continues to evolve and sadly cyberspace is increasingly misused to conduct malicious cyber activities, which the EU strongly condemns.
We welcome the adoption in 2021 of the reports of the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) on “Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security”, as well as the UN Group of Governmental Experts (UN GGE) on “Advancing Responsible State Behaviour in Cyberspace”. These reports reaffirm the framework for responsible State behaviour in the use of ICTs, including the applicability of international law in cyberspace and the 11 norms of responsible State behaviour. They also build on the solid ground of prior agreements in the UN to help the international community to cooperate and advance efforts in tackling security challenges in cyberspace. We should build upon this positive momentum within the First Committee by endorsing these consensus reports and continue this important work by implementing our achievements and by continuing our exchanges on best practices as well as our practical cooperation on capacity building.
We acknowledge and welcome the broad desire for continued regular dialogue with universal participation, including multi-stakeholder participation, on the implementation of the GGE and OEWG reports on responsible behaviour of States in cyberspace, endorsed by all UN Member States. The EU and its Member States hope to avoid contentious First Committee discussions this year as we believe our efforts should be focusing on our consensus and the implementation thereof. The EU and its Member States stress the need for a neutral and balanced approach in the discussions of the First Committee, which should endorse the work achieved by both UN processes, i.e. OEWG and UN GGE, in line with the consensus reports of 2021, thereby allowing discussions to proceed in appropriate subsidiary bodies on the basis of consensus.
At the same time, there is a need for more action-oriented work and to ensure that the normative framework, developed on the basis of consensus, is implemented. This is why in 2020, the EU and its Member States were among a diverse cross-regional group including 53 UN Member States who have proposed to establish a Programme of Action to Advance Responsible State Behaviour in Cyberspace (PoA) to take forward this work. The PoA would offer a permanent and inclusive action-oriented mechanism within the UN to take the UN framework forward and concretely support States’ capacity to implement their commitments under the UN agreed framework, including through the sharing of best practices, dialogue between relevant experts, and capacity building. To advance the proposal for a PoA in an inclusive and consensual manner, the EU and its Member States, together with the other co-sponsors, endeavour to organise more exchanges among UN Member States, in accordance with recommendations of both the OEWG and the GGE reports, to further elaborate the PoA and shape its possible establishment. This would also be an opportunity to hold exchanges with other stakeholder communities to ensure an open, free, stable and secure cyberspace that follows the agreed normative framework. We invite all UN Member States to promote this endeavour and to join us in developing a universal and inclusive permanent platform to effectively tackle our common challenges.
The EU and its Member States will engage constructively in the new OEWG, on the basis of its mandate contained in resolution 75/240, to continue to work with all UN Member States towards a common understanding of responsible State behaviour in cyberspace and to further develop the normative framework on the basis of consensus. We welcome the draft resolution tabled jointly by the United States and the Russian Federation. The resolution welcomes the consensus OEWG and GGE reports and calls upon States to be guided by the reports in their use of ICTs. By doing so, it reaffirms that international law, and in particular the UN Charter, is applicable and essential to maintaining peace and stability and promoting an open, secure, stable, accessible and peaceful ICT environment.
In conclusion, the EU and its Member States prioritize one coherent and consensual approach that reaffirms consensus views, and builds upon the reports of both the GGE and OEWG. We encourage to focus on our consensus and to implement that consensus to promote an open, free, stable and secure cyberspace. In this regard, we are happy to work with the UN Membership to establish the Programme of Action where such implementation can be taken forward and supported. We look forward to continuing our constructive engagement in the First Committee discussions on cyber, noting the need for continued respect for international law, including international humanitarian law, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. The EU will work with the entire UN Membership towards conclusion of the UN discussions that will lead back to consensus on ICT security within the First Committee.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
* The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.