Speech by CSTO Deputy Secretary General Valery SEMERIKOV at an informal intersessional meeting of the UN Open-ended Working Group on security issues in the use of information and communication technologies



by Deputy Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization Valery SEMERIKOV at the informal inter-sessional meeting of the UN Open-ended Working Group on Security of and in the Use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) 2021-2025
(December 6, 2022; VTC)

Distinguished Mr. Chairman, distinguished colleagues!

On behalf of the Secretariat of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) I am pleased to greet the organizers and participants of the informal inter-sessional meeting of the UN Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) on security of and in the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) 2021-2025.

Undoubtedly, the need for the current, highly demanded forum is determined by the ever-increasing global influence of information and communication technologies on the political, economic, defense and other integral components of modern international security.

The CSTO Member States, which include the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Tajikistan, unanimously express concern about the use of ICTs for purposes that undermine efforts to maintain international and regional peace, security and stability.

We call on the world community to refrain from the misuse of ICTs to harm information resources, critical infrastructure and other important assets of States.

We recognize the unconditional need for prevention of conflicts with the use of ICTs and for this purpose we call for encouraging the strengthened cooperation between States on the entire range of issues of international information security with the involvement of authorized national agencies.

We stand for ensuring international information security on the basis of the UN Charter and universally recognized norms and principles of international law.

We emphasize that the UN should play the central role in promoting dialogue among Member States on the entire range of issues of ensuring international information security. We note the priority task of forming an international legal regime for regulating the use of ICTs through achieving universal legally binding agreements.

We welcome the relevant activities of the UN OEWG on security in the use of ICTs 2021-2025. We advocate for maintaining it as a single interstate negotiating mechanism under the auspices of the Organization and the development of practical solutions aimed at strengthening the security in information space.

We emphasize the need to develop practical cooperation in the field of countering the use of ICTs for criminal purposes and, in this regard, we confirm the strive for adoption under the auspices of the UN pursuant to the mandate of the Open-ended Ad Hoc Committee of Experts of the comprehensive International Convention on Countering the Use of ICTs for Criminal Purposes.

We acknowledge the importance of strengthening the interaction of the CSTO Member States on the use of the Internet, including to ensure equal rights of States to access the global network, and advocate for increasing the role of the International Telecommunication Union in this context.

We stress the importance of launching consultations of the CSTO Member States with other interested countries, regional organizations and associations.

The CSTO Member States proceed from the need to intensify political interaction within the framework of the CSTO Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Ensuring Information Security of 2017 and enhance coordination for promoting agreed approaches to the issues of information security in the international arena in line with the collective guidelines to the permanent missions of the CSTO Member States to international organizations in 2016.

We uphold the key role of the UN in countering threats in the field of use of ICTs and the importance of continuing efforts within the framework of the unified negotiating mechanism of the OEWG, we reiterate the relevance of creating a global directory of points of contact under the auspices of the UN.

Such a tool will be the first step towards establishing a reliable and universal mechanism for preventing conflicts among States that may arise as a result of the use of ICTs.

We are convinced that within the framework of these activities it is necessary to clearly define the functional modalities of the directory. While studying existing developments in this area we should take into account both positive and negative experience of relevant regional efforts.

Taking into account the specificity of international information security, it is important to ensure a broad participation of national technical experts in the work of the OEWG. We believe that in case of computer incidents in information space of the UN Member States, most of the concerns could be resolved at the technical level with the competent organization of the interaction of experts.

In this context, we should bear in mind that the directory is only a guide that allows the competent agencies of Member States to send notifications specifically to similar organizations being confident that such requests will be duly processed. In this regard, it is high time to think about further possible steps to improve the effectiveness of interstate cooperation on security of and in the use ICTs.

As a regional contribution to the activities of the OEWG, we would like to present the experience of the CSTO Consultative Coordination Center for Computer Incidents Response (CSTO CCC). One of its main tasks is to organize interaction of competent agencies, including the collection and exchange of information, in responding to computer incidents in information space of the CSTO Member States.

For this purpose, procedures for information interaction of the CSTO CCC points of contact have been developed. They are intended to formalize the processes of collecting and exchanging information on computer incidents between authorized agencies within the information and technical interaction of CSTO CCC points of contact. This document defines the main areas and forms of cooperation of States, including in the provision of mutual assistance, as well as the procedure for the actions of points of contact in case of computer incidents.

In our view, an equivalent instrument adopted at the international level will allow introducing a uniform system of interaction of UN Member States on security of and in the use of ICTs, as well as avoiding politicization of technical aspects of computer incidents response. The agreed procedure will facilitate the establishment of dialogue among technical experts, which, ultimately, will lead to decreasing tension and mistrust in the global information space.

Thank you for your attention.

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