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STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE MEMBERS OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS DELIVERED BY DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF SINGAPORE TO THE UNITED NATIONS JOSEPH TEO AT THE THEMATIC DEBATE ON CLUSTER 5: OTHER DISARMAMENT MEASURES AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY OF THE FIRST COMMITTEE, 23 OCTOBER 2017

Thank you, Mr Chairman

 

1        I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), comprising Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Viet Nam and my own country, Singapore.  For this thematic debate, our statement will focus on cybersecurity. 

 

2        This year, we commemorate the Golden Jubilee of ASEAN – 50 years of collaboration and cooperation.  ASEAN has not only fostered regional economic integration, it has secured regional peace and strengthened national resilience by creating a sense of common identity in the midst of great diversity.  50 years on, we are at the cusp of a very exciting time, with tremendous opportunities beckoning.  The digital economy can bring about huge potential for growth. However, cyber threats and attacks undermine trust in the digital future, and adversely affects our lives given our increasing dependence on digital technology.  ASEAN will need to address cybersecurity challenges to reap the full dividends of the digital economy.

 

Mr Chairman,

 

3        ASEAN reaffirms the importance of regional cybersecurity collaboration and is taking concrete steps to address cybersecurity challenges holistically.  As part of our regional capacity building measures, ASEAN adopted the ASEAN Cybersecurity Cooperation Strategy in March 2017.  In addition, ASEAN has taken concrete steps to foster regional cybersecurity cooperation, which include: (a) the ASEAN Computer Emergency Response Team Incident Drill (ACID) in September 2017; (b) the second ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity convened in September 2017; (c) the establishment of the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) experts’ working group on cybersecurity; and (d) the establishment of an ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Inter-Sessional Meeting on Security of and in the Use of Information and Communication Technologies.  Such initiatives involve more than the ten ASEAN Member States, and demonstrate ASEAN’s commitment to work with key partners to preserve the stability of cyberspace. 

 

4        ASEAN hopes to play a greater role on the international stage. We support ongoing work to promote international voluntary cyber norms of responsible State behaviour and the eventual development of a rules-based cyberspace.  Several ASEAN Member States have contributed to the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security.  While we regret that the latest iteration of the GGE could not agree on a substantive report, ASEAN reaffirms the importance of the work and reports of previous GGEs.  In particular, ASEAN supports moving forward discussions on the adoption of basic, operational and voluntary norms of behaviour to guide the use of ICTs in ASEAN in a responsible manner, which would take reference from the norms set out in the 2015 GGE Report.

 

5        A coherent, coordinated global effort is key to a trusted and resilient cyber environment.  ASEAN is stepping up our efforts to forge consensus on a set of global norms on cyberspace and enhance regional and international cooperation to address increasing threats to global cybersecurity.  ASEAN is of the view that the UN should continue to play a central role to address problems of the global commons such as cybersecurity, and further enrich norms discussions at the international level.  The UN has served as a catalyst for peace and development and is uniquely placed to facilitate a more inclusive and open process to address emerging cybersecurity threats. 

 

6        Capacity building is also an important aspect to enhancing our region’s ability to respond to the evolving threats and to build a secure and resilient ASEAN cyberspace.  ASEAN welcomes contributions towards capacity building in the region.  In particular, we are pleased that the Plan of Action to implement the Joint Declaration on Comprehensive Partnership between ASEAN and the UN (2016-2020) highlights the need for closer cooperation between ASEAN and the UN in cyber and outlines, inter-alia: (a) the need to enhance cooperation and continue the sharing of information with existing ASEAN-led mechanisms to address cybersecurity, and (b) to enhance training and technical support in cybersecurity cooperation, including strengthening ASEAN Member States’ capacity for CERT-CERT cooperation.

 

7        ASEAN believes that cybersecurity is an issue that requires coordinated expertise from stakeholders across different domains to be addressed effectively. We recognise that Governments do not have all the answers. The large percentage of cyber infrastructure, resources and expertise in the hands of the private sector necessitates the private sector’s involvement in our discussions.  In this regard, we will continue to encourage and contribute positively to such discussions at the international level.

 

Mr Chair,

 

8        Permit me to add a few comments in our national capacity:

 

9        As a small and highly connected State, Singapore supports a secure and resilient cyberspace underpinned by international law, well-defined norms of responsible State behaviour and coordinated capacity-building efforts to meet these norms. Robust international cooperation is necessary to address the emerging challenges posed by cyber threats and Singapore will play its part.

 

10      Singapore has contributed to facilitating inclusive conversations on key issues such as norms of responsible state behaviour in cyberspace, cybersecurity capacity building and confidence building at the annual Singapore International Cyber Week, and facilitating dialogues on cybersecurity and related topics through hosting side events and informal dialogues at the UN.  Singapore has also launched a 10 million dollar ASEAN Cyber Capacity Programme, or ACCP, which is a modular, multi-stakeholder and multi-disciplinary programme to build capacity across policy and technical areas in the region. As part of the ACCP, Singapore is partnering with the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) to develop a flagship UN online training course on the “Use of ICTs and International Security”.  We have also continued to host the ASEAN Regional Forum Confidence Building Workshops for the second consecutive year.  Taken together, we hope that the triad of norms discussions, capacity building and CBMs will contribute to a virtuous cycle that will help Singapore and ASEAN protect our interests in cyberspace in the face of the evolving threat.  Singapore also looks forward to taking the discussion on cybersecurity and cyber norms in ASEAN forward when we chair ASEAN in 2018. 

 

11      We must stand ever ready to deal with the changing nature of the cybersecurity challenges that lie ahead of us, to seize the opportunities of our digital future. Singapore looks forward to continue engaging constructively on this important issue during the First Committee.

 

12      I thank you, Mr Chair.  

 

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