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Consiglio di Sicurezza – Dibattito Aperto su “Maintaining international peace and security in cyberspace”

Discorso pronunciato dall’Italia al Dibattito Aperto del Consiglio di Sicurezza su “Maintaining international peace and security in cyberspace”. —


Italy commends Estonia for bringing the issue of cybersecurity to the attention of the UN Security Council and is pleased to participate in today’s Open Debate.

We also appreciate the support and dedication of the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Ms. Nakamitsu, and her readiness to brief the UNSC at a moment when there is concern among Member States for the rising number of cybersecurity incidents.

Italy aligns itself with the EU statement and wishes to add the following remarks in its national capacity.

The timing of this debate could not have been more appropriate. The UN General Assembly has recognized the work of the past 2 years carried out by the First Committee on Developments in the Field of Information and Communication Technologies on international security and on the advancement of responsible State behavior in cyberspace. The two Reports adopted by the OEWG and the GGE during this semester represent important achievements that should contribute to building trust among UN Member States. The also gave visibility to a domain which for several years has been considered eminently technical.

The pace of digitalization is picking up at a global level and, along with the benefits associated with this development, comes the challenge to maintain cyberspace as a global, open, and stable domain. The surge in incidents in recent months, at times targeting critical infrastructures and imposing high costs to world economies, is deplorable. Some of the attacks offered a glimpse into the loss of human life that these actions can cause, especially during a pandemic. The destructive potential of the misuse of new technologies is becoming more and more evident and so is the need to keep them in check. Italy believes that the UN are the best positioned for this task and for promoting cyber peace and stability.

Italy would like to echo the EU statement with regard to the applicability of international law in cyberspace, including IHL and human rights law, the importance of adhering to norms of responsible State behavior, and the usefulness of confidence building measures as a practical means to prevent conflict. We also wish to highlight the important role that regional organizations can exert in the field of cybersecurity. As staunch supporters of multilateralism, we encourage the dialogue between the UN and regional organizations and, in this regard, we welcome the recent discussions between the UN Secretary General and the European Council, as a worthwhile opportunity to exchange views on the challenges we are facing. We also appreciate the efforts of the Swedish Presidency of the OSCE, which is bringing to the fore the interlinkages between human rights, gender issues and cybersecurity.

In an increasingly interconnected world, dialogue becomes even more essential to promote shared understandings and increase opportunities for cooperation. In this spirit, we support the dialogue of the EU with the UN and with regional organizations, notably the AU, ASEAN-ARF and OSA.

Through regional organizations, Member States can maximize their own bilateral contacts, sharing best practices and lessons learned, thus ensuring that regional approaches do not diverge. Further efforts should be dedicated to mechanisms for the peaceful settlement of disputes, as well as to initiatives to develop cyber-diplomacy and cyber mediation.

We believe that the cyber domain should stay open, free, secure and stable, as a means for States to implement policies that will enable societies to thrive and guarantee sustainable development for all, contributing to the attainment of the SDGs. The importance of capacity building cannot be underestimated, as it guarantees homogeneous resilience of States, increases awareness and stimulates the development of capabilities. Much more needs to be done in this sector, and we believe that the Programme of Action to Advance Responsible State Behavior in Cyberspace, promoted together with other 52 UN Member States, can represent the priority platform from which to coordinate and promote this endeavor. We have already flagged our availability to exchange further on this initiative in the context of the First Committee discussions and wish to reiterate our resolve today. The PoA can also be the forum where the multistakeholder approach is shaped and Public-Private Partnerships are developed.

The pandemic has been a dramatic setback in 2020 and 2021. Our joint efforts need to focus on relaunching sustainable development and the cyber domain is an essential ingredient for that. Italy is working toward this goal as a member of the G7 and is promoting this vision in the context of its current G20 Presidency. Today’s debate is a vital step toward increasing awareness and ensuring that developments linked to digitalization occur in a safe and stable cyber domain, while safeguarding every effort from being undermined.

This debate takes place as the G20 Foreign Ministers are meeting in Matera to discuss the issues of recovery and sustainable development, with the aim of leaving no-one behind. It is our hope that these efforts are mutually reinforcing and that the UNSC will remain focused on cyber issues, monitor progress and be ready to call non-compliant States to their obligations. Hopefully such instances will be very few as Member States converge on the need to dedicate time and effort to a positive cybersecurity agenda – one which develops trust, transparency and inclusiveness.