Hon. Seetanah Lutchmeenaraidoo, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade,
Hon. Yogida Sawmynaden, Minister of Technology, Communication and Innovation,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The increasing reliance on ICT in all spheres of life and a growing number of connections between people, processes and data has already transformed our societies.
However, most of the efforts that have been made to improve the access to ICT have so far underestimated the risks and challenges associated with this process.
But a secure and safe digital environment is a necessary condition for taking full advantage of the internet and the positive impact it has on human and economic development.
In today's context, cybersecurity plays an ever more prominent role as internet has become part of the daily life of most citizens. The impact of the cyberattacks is very much dependent on the resilience of (or lack thereof) national critical infrastructures and networks (e.g. energy, telecommunications, financial, transportation, water).
Therefore, it is important to protect these strategic assets and to be ready to respond to such attacks through coordinated responses.
This is why we are here today to discuss how Mauritius can improve the cyber security of its critical national infrastructure and its own emergency response capacities.
Ladies and gentleman,
The European Union is at international forefront in technical and legislative measures to ensure trust and security, for our citizens to enjoy the digital dividends of an open, free, secure and resilient cyberspace that the digital world provides.
The EU prioritises international security issues in cyberspace, while also ensuring that cybersecurity does not become a pretext for market protection and the limitation of fundamental rights and freedoms, including the freedom of expression and access to information.
We shall not neglect that a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity requires respect for human rights too, and the EU will continue upholding its core values globally, building on the EU's Human Rights Guidelines on online freedom. In that regard the EU emphasises the importance of all stakeholders’ involvement in the governance of the internet.
Moreover, it is necessary to have in mind what type of cyberspace we want for our citizens and for the world, so the European Union strongly promotes the position that international law, and in particular the UN Charter, applies in cyberspace.
Currently, the EU has already in place a well-rehearsed plan in case of a large scale cross-border cyber incident or crisis and is implementing it. It sets out the objectives and modes of cooperation between the Member States and EU Institutions in responding to such incidents and crises.
It is important to tackle growing cyber threats and challenges by increasing resilience of critical infrastructure and by reinforcing close cooperation and coordination among international stakeholders through initiatives such as the development of confidence building, common standards, international cyber exercises, awareness raising, training, (research and education, incident response mechanisms).
Ladies and gentleman,
The longstanding partnership between the European Union and Mauritius is wide and solid, and I am glad that we share the same values and principles also in the Cyber Domaine.
So it is with pleasure that the EU supports Mauritius efforts in its quest to become a High Income country and adapt its economic base to the digital economy.
Since 2015 we've been coordinating our efforts in the field of Cybercrime through the programme GLACY with the Mauritius Institute for Judicial & Legal Studies. The judicial and law enforcement officers received up-to-date technological skills and understanding of the relevant international and domestic legal frameworks to be able to face the new challenges that the digital world poses.
The new programme that we are launching today is the "Cyber Resilience for development (CYBER 4D)" which is funded by the EU to the amount of EUR 11,000,000 (more than 440 million rupees) and implemented in Sri Lanka, Botswana and Mauritius. Through the programme which targets three countries including Mauritius, the European Union can share its experience and its 'Security by design', for example establishing cyber security standards and certification frameworks.
You've just heard Mr Campbell mentioning some concrete examples of what the programme has been doing and is expected to do.
This programme will contribute to our joint efforts in making a digital world safe whilst respecting Human Rights and Rule of Law of the European Union and Mauritius for a digital world where the human rights, the rule of law and the vulnerable individuals are protected through cybersecurity and cyber resilience.
I would like to end my intervention by congratulating Mauritius and its Mauritius Computer Emergency Readiness Team for being recognised by the International Telecommunication Union as Regional Centre of Excellence.
This is an important step on the right direction to keep Mauritius in the forefront of the Digital Economy in Africa.