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APC statement at the Open-ended Working Group on developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security 2021–2025: Informal, dedicated stakeholder segment, 9 March 2023

Delivered by Verónica Ferrari, APC Global Policy Advocacy Coordinator


Thank you, Chair, delegates, colleagues,

We welcome the opportunity to engage in this informal segment.

APC is an international civil society organisation and a network of members working for peace, human rights, and gender social and environmental justice, through the strategic use of digital technologies. 

In our statement, we wanted to focus on gender-sensitive capacity-building, as we did in previous interventions. Firstly, we welcome all the remarks by the Chair and states this week expressing the importance of gender considerations in the group discussions.

I wanted to start with some remarks on what it means to have a gender sensitive approach to capacity building, in our view.

This approach considers the gendered impacts and implications of cyber threats and calls for specific steps to address the needs, priorities and capacities of women and people of diverse sexualities, gender expressions and identities.

Gender-sensitive approaches to capacity building should include principles such as participation, transparency, diversity and accountability and ensure meaningful inclusion of women and LGBTIQ+ people in projects, activities, approaches and outcomes.

A gender-sensitive approach will allow the rethinking of cybersecurity education methodologies for all stakeholders.

Lastly, a gender-sensitive approach should be intersectional: identifying and responding to how multiple aspects of identity work together with gender to produce marginalisation and exclusion.

On the question of how states can raise awareness of the gender dimensions of cybersecurity and promote gender-sensitive capacity building, we wanted to share a few suggestions, based on recent APC work on this issue.

At the policy level, states should recognise that a gendered approach to cybersecurity is closely linked to other agendas and principles, such as human rights and development.

States can draw upon relevant tools and frameworks such as the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, the Sustainable Development Agenda, and Human Rights Council reports and resolutions, among others.

It is also important that states find the voices that can help understand how gender is a relevant factor in cybersecurity in each country.

Civil society, and particularly women’s rights groups and organisations, can enrich the group discussions on how to address the gender dimensions of cybersecurity.

Civil society has extensive experience in bringing human rights and gender perspectives to national cyber policy discussions, in developing digital security trainings for women’s rights activists and defenders, in producing pioneering research on the intersections of gender and cybersecurity, in exploring the dimensions of gender-based violence connected with cybersecurity, and in implementing capacity-building activities that convene different stakeholders.

We encourage the group to have a more focused discussion on the gender dimensions of security in the use of ICTs. And we support the recommendation in the progress report that suggests that experts could be invited to make presentations on this topic.

We encourage these consultations to be broadly representative and inclusive, both in their convening and format.

We look forward to continuing to engage with the OEWG on this important topic.

Thank you for your attention.