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9 March 2021

Thank you, Chair. Good morning/afternoon or evening, everyone.

I work with the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), an international NGO and network of members working at the intersections of technology, human rights, gender equality and sustainable development.

APC welcomes the opportunity to engage in this session. We appreciate Ambassador Lauber’s openness to civil society and the OEWG’s willingness to receive and consider comments by non-state actors.

On the subject of rules, norms and principles, we believe that the implementation of norms should be an inclusive effort and should involve those actors that the norms are intended to address. This is not yet referenced in the first draft. We encourage the OEWG to include in its report a recommendation that states work together with other stakeholders, including civil society, to implement the agreed norms.

We support the recommendations for a voluntary non-binding state survey of the implementation of norms at the national level, but we believe that mechanisms with input from all stakeholders in a more consistent manner are needed.

Regarding the multistakeholder approach, overall, and as expressed in previous APC inputs and in a joint civil society comment on this draft, we welcome the efforts to involve civil society in the process, and the references to this in paragraph 9. However, we think that the report does not yet reflect the importance of the multistakeholder approach to build and maintain a secure and peaceful cyberspace.

In terms of a human rights-based approach, we welcome the draft recognising the importance of a human-centric approach and the reaffirmation that international law applies in cyberspace. Nevertheless, we believe the report could be stronger regarding this, emphasising that the protection of human rights is a security issue and that international human rights law should be a guiding principle in cyber governance.

Finally, we would like to say a few words on gender. We welcome the call to bridge the “gender digital divide” and to promote meaningful participation of women in international cybersecurity processes. We also welcome the recommendation that capacity building efforts should be gender sensitive. However, we would like to see the gender dimensions of cybersecurity acknowledged across all the sections of the report. For example, we would like the report to address specifically the differentiated impacts of cyber threats on women and people of diverse sexualities and gender expressions, and to have a more action-oriented final outcome with specific recommendations to address this.

Thank you for your attention.