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Delivered by Verónica Ferrari, APC global policy advocacy coordinator, 28 February 2024.

Mr. Chair,

Distinguished Delegates, colleagues,

APC welcomes the opportunity to engage in this informal dialogue. 

Firstly, we reiterate that enforcement and implementation of existing norms should be the focus of current efforts by both state and non-state actors. And that effective implementation of existing norms requires a collective effort.

In particular, civil society has a key role to play in the implementation of norms through research grounded in local and national contexts, and increasing awareness and building capacity of stakeholders for norms compliance.

Specifically, civil society can play a fundamental role in promoting compliance with the human rights commitments, with a focus on the impact of compliance or transgressions to norms on specific communities or people. States should work inclusively with civil society to understand how the enjoyment of the rights of people in positions of marginalisation are affected by cyberthreats.

Additionally, civil society can contribute to monitoring norms implementation, fostering accountability. Therefore, we advocate for the development of implementation review mechanisms by the Open-ended Working Group on developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security (OEWG) that are fully inclusive to monitor states’ application of the agreed norms.

Civil society has experience working with states in monitoring United Nations system implementations. We support the OEWG recommendations for a voluntary state survey of national efforts to implement the norms. We believe, however, that mechanisms led by states with input from relevant stakeholders, through which voluntary assessment can be made in a more consistent manner, are needed. A process involving multistakeholder participation to facilitate the sharing of experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned in implementing the norms, would help in making progress in achieving the goals represented by the norms.

We also emphasise the need for continued involvement of all stakeholders, particularly civil society, in supporting state efforts to implement and develop measures for protecting critical infrastructure and making cybersecurity risk assessments more complete, nuanced, and diverse. For example, critical infrastructure risk models can incorporate a gender and intersectional approach to protecting the rights of people given their diverse needs. States should consider coordinating training sessions with stakeholders on how the gender approach can contribute to developing these models and creating a plan for timely responses to incidents.

By fostering inclusive collaboration, integrating a gender perspective, and upholding human rights, we can collectively build frameworks, norms and rules that safeguard both critical infrastructure and the diverse needs of individuals in cyberspace. 

Thank you for your attention.