© UNODC Civil Society Unit
Accra (Ghana) – 6 December 2023 – In the margins of the Global Conference on Cyber Capacity Building (GC3B) in Ghana, the UNODC Civil Society Unit (CSU), in close partnership with the International Chamber of Commerce, the Cyber Peace Institute and Microsoft, organized a hybrid side event to discuss the importance of multistakeholder contributions in the implementation of a future ‘Cybercrime Convention’.
The event provided timely updates to more than 80 participants on the ongoing process of the Ad Hoc Committee (AHC) to Elaborate a Comprehensive International Convention on Countering the use of Information and Communication Technologies for Criminal Purposes, commonly referred to as the ‘Cybercrime Convention’, and stressed the key role that civil society will undertake in shaping its way forward.
Emphasis was placed on discussing the pivotal role civil society plays in upholding human rights and navigating potential implementation mechanisms.
Moderated by Anders Frantzen, UNODC Civil Society Unit, the event featured a panel discussion with experts from different regions and sectors, who shared their perspectives and experiences on the need for a multistakeholder approach to address cybercrime and enhance cyber resilience. The speakers included: Jennifer Mensah, Ghana Cyber Security Authority; Nikolas Ott, Microsoft; Pavlina Pavlova, Cyber Peace Institute; Grace Githaiga, KICTANet (Kenya); Rose Payne, International Chamber of Commerce and Johana LaHaie, U.S. Department of State.
Jennifer Mensah of the Ghana Cyber Security Authority emphasized the need for compromises and quick action in negotiating a ‘Cybercrime Convention’: “We encourage collaboration to conclude the session in January as it is in our best interest. The more we delay, the more we empower cybercriminals,” she stated. On the other hand, Nicolas Ott, Senior Manager, European Government Affairs, Microsoft expressed their view on the remaining challenges to achieve a holistic outcome, noting that the current draft is not ready to address the outlined concerns. Mr. Ott anticipated that countries will undergo another complex round of negotiations, urging nations to engage in critical thinking about their objectives and whether the existing draft will effectively achieve those ambitions.
Pavlina Pavlova of the Cyber Peace Institute stressed the value of a human-centred approach and emphasized that the convention should establish avenues for input regarding access to justice for cybercrime victims. Ms. Pavlova highlighted that cybercrime often targets vulnerable entities, including NGOs, that lack cybersecurity maturity to protect themselves effectively.
Meanwhile, focal point on the Cybercrime stakeholder initiative in Africa, Grace Githaiga of KICTANet (Kenya) highlighted the importance of bringing in perspectives that will ensure a comprehensive and effective approach to address cybercrime challenges and opportunities involved. This perspective is crucial for developing effective and lasting policies and synergies.
Johana LaHaie of the U.S. Department of State concluded that they anticipate the upcoming negotiations (29 January-9 February 2024) would include provisions of safeguards and protection of human rights, adding that they strive for a consensus-based outcome document which respects conventions and that can be used by practitioners to combat cybercrime. “We recognize in the United States that we can’t do that unless we have the views and perspectives of the stakeholder community. So going forward, we look forward to continuing to collaborate with the multistakeholder community as we near the intended end,” – underscored Ms. LaHaie.
A multistakeholder approach to the implementation of a future ‘Cybercrime Convention’ is essential for its success. It ensures that policies are robust, inclusive, and capable of addressing the dynamic challenges of cyberspace while respecting the rights and interests of all stakeholders involved.
The side event was part of the UNODC Civil Society Unit’s efforts to enhance multistakeholder engagement in multilateral discussions around cybercrime, and to facilitate their participation at the AHC, the “Cybercrime Convention” process.