Good Cyber Story
Country: Chile
Target Groups: Society, Government
Dominant Genes: Transparency and Accountability, Organisational Capacity, Political Importance
DNA sequence Info

Confidence Building Measures in the OAS

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The challenge

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The anonymous nature of cyberspace creates unique challenges to interstate cooperation. While digitalisation has brought major opportunities for innovation, economic progress and social development, it has also brought new threats, with implications for international security and stability.

As the frequency and impact of cyber-attacks has increased across all sectors throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an estimated 100% rise in ‘significant’ nation state incidents between 2017-2020. Meanwhile, attribution of cyber-attacks remains a challenge. For states, the risks of misperception or miscalculation in cyberspace pose a serious threat to international peace, in addition to the well-being of economies and societies. At a time when new threats are challenging traditional forms of conflict prevention, there is a need for dedicated mechanisms that enable transparency, trust and confidence among states.

A response

In 2018, the Organisation of American States (OAS) adopted a resolution stressing the need to prepare and agree upon a set of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) for cyberspace to enhance interstate cooperation, transparency, and in turn stability online. CBMs are planned procedures that aim to strengthen international peace and security by reducing and eliminating the causes of mistrust, fear, misunderstanding, and miscalculations. The first meeting of the Working Group on Co-operation and Confidence-Building Measures in Cyberspace was and the proposed CBMs were agreed to with a proposed plan of action to establish additional measures.

On May 4, 2018, member states approved resolution CICTE/RES.1/18 and agreed to the two Regional CBMs to continue the work of the Working Group on Co-operation and Confidence-Building Measures in Cyberspace as a permanent mechanism, and that it continues to meet as needed, in person or by digital means, to discuss new and agreed-upon cyber CBMs.

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The Impact

The 2018 OAS Confidence Building Measures have led to greater information sharing on cybersecurity policies, such as national strategies, white papers, legal frameworks, and also established an agreement to appoint national points of contact to discuss the implications of hemispheric cyber threats. The information aims to be shared among partners in a transparent and readily accessible format, and has contributed to building trust and confidence among states.

In 2019, the Working Group on Co-operation and Confidence-Building Measures in Cyberspace recommended four new regional CBMs. The working group has encouraged the development and strengthening of capacity building through activities like seminars and workshops, and the incorporation of cybersecurity and cyberspace issues in basic training courses. The CBMs has also strengthened cooperation on cyber diplomacy, by increasing the number of specialists and points of contact at the ministries of foreign affairs of member states, as well as calling for more dedicated training of diplomats and government officials.

Overall, the Confidence Building Measures established by the OAS have worked toward enhancing interstate cooperation, transparency, predictability, and stability and to reducing the risks of misperception, escalation, and conflict that may stem from the use of ICTs. Through regional cooperation, initiatives like these contribute to strengthening international peace and security, and have a positive impact on cyberspace.
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Project DNA

Which aspects of this project have contributed to its success? And which, according to the implementing organisations, might play an important role in launching similar initiatives in other parts of the world? The project DNA profiling on the basis of the Good Cyber Stories framework highlighted the importance of three success genes in particular:

T - Transparency and Accountability

Transparency & Accountability

C - Organisational Capacity

Organisational Capacity

I - Political Importance

Political Importance

Confidence Building Measures in the OAS

Project DNA

Multi-Stakeholder Participation
Local Ownership
Organisational Capacity
Transparency and Accountability
Legal and Institutional Framework
Political Importance
Societal Awareness

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