Event Details

OEWG Side Event: An Accountability Mechanism for Cyberspace?

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Calls for cyber accountability are growing. Diverse non-governmental stakeholders have highlighted the need to close the accountability gap with respect to implementation of the UN framework for responsible state behaviour in the use of ICTs. Accountability featured prominently in statements delivered during a 2023 UN Security Council Arria-formula meeting on cyber operations targeting critical infrastructure. Earlier this year, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an independent multilateral accountability mechanism for the malicious use of cyberspace in his Policy Brief on A New Agenda for Peace.

But what can we do to advance accountability in Cyberspace? At what type of accountability should we look at? How can the UN Framework of Responsible State Behavior and the discussions in UN Open-ended Working Group on ICTs contribute to addressing accountability? What is the role of non-governmental stakeholders and what lessons can be drawn from accountability efforts in other sectors, or those that exist at regional and national levels?

On the margins of the Sixth Substantive Session to the UN Open-ended Working Group on ICTs, the EU Cyber Diplomacy Initiative and the Stimson Center, in cooperation with the European External Action Service and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, held a side event exploring framing and practices of cyber accountability mechanisms by drawing on current research, proposals, and experience in this area through a moderated discussion. 

Building more common understanding and vision about cyber accountability mechanisms is crucial for strengthening implementation of the UN framework. The implementation of international law and existing norms, when coupled with more robust accountability, presents a win-win solution for reducing cyber threats and improving resilience and stability.

For more information, find Stimson's event summary here.

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