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Photo: Verónica Ferrari

Delivered by Verónica Ferrari, APC Global Policy Advocacy Coordinator

Mr. Chair,

Distinguished delegates,

APC welcomes the opportunity to engage in this session and provide comments on the draft report.

As expressed in a joint civil society input, we welcome the reference to engaging stakeholders in a “systemic, sustained and substantive manner”. Such an inclusive approach is key to address the challenges of international cybersecurity.

Furthermore, we value the emphasis placed on women delegates' active participation and the prominence given to a gender perspective during the discussions. In this regard, we support the report's recognition of the importance of narrowing the "gender digital divide", which is a factor in creating differential vulnerabilities to cyber attacks.

We welcome the recognition of the need for a gender perspective in addressing threats and the specific risks faced by vulnerable groups. We encourage the Group to explore further how to integrate an intersectional gender perspective when addressing cyber threats. For this, we underline the significance of broad representation when inviting experts to discuss the impact of new technologies in the context of international cybersecurity. It is essential that the voices and input of groups experiencing specific threats in cyberspace, such as human rights defenders, journalists, and people in situations of marginalisation or vulnerability are included. Civil society can play a crucial role by providing evidence and analysis based on the lived experiences of those who have faced cyber attacks, which will make it possible to better understand the actors, forms and impacts of cyber attacks, in order to develop more targeted recommendations.

Civil society can also provide guidance and evidence on how to mainstream gender perspectives across the mandate of the Group. There are many organisations and academics working on gender and cybersecurity, inclusivity and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda who can offer direction and advice. For example, APC has developed a framework to support policy makers in developing gender-responsive cybersecurity policy that can inform these discussions.

In the area of international law, we welcome the references by several delegations to the obligation to protect human rights online and we encourage the Group to emphasise that international human rights law should be the guiding principle in maintaining a peaceful cyberspace. Future and dedicated discussions on international law should also integrate an understanding of the human rights impacts of malicious cyber operations.

Finally, on regular institutional dialogue, we support the proposal of an inclusive, action-oriented mechanism that could help states implement the agreed cyber norms, coordinate capacity-building efforts and better integrate the voices of non-governmental actors. Civil society plays a key role in cyber norms implementation, in raising awareness about them and monitoring their implementation, in cyber capacity building, among others. It is key to include non-state actors in the design and implementation of any proposal of a future mechanism.

In conclusion, we emphasise that adopting human rights and gender approaches, recognising the risks and impacts faced by vulnerable groups, and ensuring broad participation in discussions are key steps towards achieving a more inclusive, open, secure, stable and peaceful ICT environment.

Thank you for your attention.