Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

EU Statement – United Nations 1st Committee: Organizational session of the Open-ended Working Group on developments in Information and Telecommunications

New York , 04/06/2019 - 21:01, UNIQUE ID: 190604_11
Statements on behalf of the EU

3 June 2019, New York - Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States delivered by Mr. Viktor Dvorak, European Union Delegation to the United Nations, at the organizational session of the Open-ended working group on developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security

Mr. Chairman


The EU promotes the establishment of a strategic framework for conflict prevention, cooperation and stability in cyberspace that is based on the application of existing international law, in particular of the UN Charter in its entirety, the development and implementation of universal norms of responsible state behaviour, and regional confidence building measures between States.

The EU recognizes the role of the United Nations in further developing norms for responsible States behaviour in cyberspace and recalls the outcome of the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts discussions have articulated a consensual set of norms and recommendations, which the General Assembly has repeatedly endorsed, and which States should take as a basis for responsible state behaviour in cyberspace.

The EU and its Member States, committed to the further discussions in the UN on the issues of cyber, reaffirm their willingness to engage positively in an effort to make constructive progress and to work in a complementary and coordinated fashion, with the aim to work simultaneously on the further development, as well as the implementation of the strategic framework for conflict prevention, cooperation and stability in cyberspace, respectively in the UN Group of Governmental Experts and the Open-ended Working Group.

The EU and its Member States recognize the importance of upholding the rules based international order, effective multilateralism and reaffirm the application of international law in cyberspace and will continue to actively promote effective global multistakeholder governance of the Internet as central to the consensus based approach, and in accordance with previous practices in discussions on cyber issues in the context of international security.

The EU and its Member States support the continuation of the process to exchange information and best practices, including on implementation of norms for responsible state behaviour, confidence building measures and the application of international law in cyberspace within the UN framework. The consecutive reports of the Groups of Governmental Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security in 2010, 2013 and 2015 demonstrated UN General Assembly consensus on a number of measures contributing to greater stability in cyberspace. They constitute the basis for further discussion, in particular on awareness, implementation and application, and we should continue to build on the work repeatedly endorsed by the UN General Assembly, which called in its resolution 70/237 for all States to be guided in their use of ICTs by these reports. 

Therefore, the EU and its Member States should ensure a coordinated approach to build on what has been agreed. In order to not duplicate the efforts or undermine progress achieved, the mandate of the OEWG should continue to help raise awareness among all UN Member States on existing and potential threats in cyberspace, build common understanding and support and advance implementation of previously agreed rules, norms and principles of responsible behaviour of States, guided by the previous GGE reports, including all the 11 norms of responsible States behaviour listed in paragraphs 13(a)-(k), and confidence building measures recommended in paragraph 16-18, of the UN GGE report 2015.

The EU and its Member States believe that the OEWG should be encouraged to study the implementation of the 2010, 2013, 2015 GGE reports, including the applicability of international law, the implementation of agreed non-binding voluntary norms of responsible state behaviour and confidence building measures, and to develop ways and practical means to implement them, including through targeted capacity building.

Promoting capacity building and increasing cyber resilience is as well part of the overarching objective to maintain an open, stable and secure cyberspace and building bridges between all actors to work towards a universal and functional strategic framework for conflict prevention, cooperation and stability in cyberspace. 

The EU and its Member States recognize that the interconnected and complex nature of cyberspace requires joint efforts by governments, private sector, civil society, technical community, users and academia to address the challenges faced and calls on these stakeholders to recognize their specific responsibilities to maintain an open, free, secure and stable cyberspace. The group should hold regular, open-ended intersessional consultations with interested stakeholders, allowing them to engage in interactive discussions and share their views. [but also remain clear that the purpose of discussions at the OEWG is to look at State behaviour in cyberspace, and we should take care not to undermine existing multi-stakeholder fora on internet governance or expand the OEWG's mandate.]

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