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Statement by Estonia at the 71st Session of the First Committee of the General Assembly after the briefing by the Chair of the GGE on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security, 21 October 2016

21.10.2016

At the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly First Committee

Other disarmament measures and international security

Briefing by the Chair of the GGE on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security

New York, 21 October 2016

 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

We first would like to thank the Chair of the GGE for the useful briefing and to commend him for the outstanding leadership in chairing discussions in the GGE.

Estonia was the first country in the world which experienced organized cyber attacks and for us the cyber security is an essential priority. We firmly believe that cyber security should no longer be seen as a standalone issue – it is a part of the larger security concept and should be addressed as such. We acknowledge that cyber threats undermine the collective ability of all stakeholders to use the Internet to bolster economic growth and development as well as use Internet as a platform for people to exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms. Due to the cross-border nature of cyberspace, Estonia views cyber security not just as a shared challenge, but also a shared opportunity.

Mr. Chairman, my country is for the fourth consecutive time a member of the GGE and we value the GGE as a very productive format of work. We consider the GGE reports to be a great achievement and wish to build upon this through the guidance to states on how to best implement the agreed principles. Taking the 2013 consensus further in 2015 was a difficult, but successfully completed task. Estonia supports the continuation of the work of experts in the UN GGE format. In our view the group has been able to considerably deepen understanding, even if not appreciation, of different national and expert views on international cyber security. Given its mandate, the UN GGE is unique and remains one of the very few venues for developing relevant views globally.

We fully agree with the GGE Chairman that the focus of the group should lie on State behavior that presents a threat to international peace and security. For Estonia, international law is the biggest authority, also in the use of ICTs. We therefore strive for clarity and certainty of norms as it not only reduces the risk of intolerable practices, but provides transparency and predictability of behaviour that allows us to focus on peace rather than on conflict.

In conclusion, we hope to see yet another consensus report at the end of this GGE. In our view the report should build on previous reports and add clear and consensual guidance on how to prevent and mitigate threats to international peace and security in the context of State uses of ICTs. The Group should avoid side-stepping to other ICT related issues or themes that are discussed and addressed in other (UN) bodies or fall outside the mandate of the GGE.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

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