Joint Statement of the Cyber ​​Policy Dialogue between South Africa and the Netherlands | New items

Joint Statement of the Cyber ​​Policy Dialogue between South Africa and the Netherlands |  New items

News | 04-06-2022 | 15:50

On April 4-5, 2022, South Africa and the Netherlands held their bilateral Cyber ​​Policy Dialogue in Pretoria, with consultations on international cybersecurity and cybercrime. The Dialogue reinforced the close cyber collaboration and partnership between the two countries in the areas of UN processes on responsible state behavior in cyberspace, cyber capacity building, digitalization, and national and international efforts to increase cybersecurity, enhance resilience of companies and communities, and to prevent and combat cybercrime. As part of the visit, the Dutch delegation spoke with a variety of stakeholders in the South African cyber community and participated in a trade mission on digital transformation, organized by the Netherlands Business Agency.

The South African delegation, led by Mr. Zaheer Laher, Acting Director of Political Affairs, Peace and Security of the United Nations, including representatives of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation. The Dutch delegation, led by the itinerant ambassador for Security and Cyber ​​Policy, Ms. Nathalie Jaarsma, included representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch Embassy in Pretoria.

The Dialogue underscored the ongoing efforts of the two countries to enhance bilateral engagement and mutual understanding of cyber issues in accordance with the commitment expressed by both Foreign Ministers during the Joint Cooperation Commission held on November 22, 2021. Participants discussed the evolution of the situation in cyberspace. , including major challenges and best practice approaches to managing strategic threats, national cybersecurity strategies, and relevant legislation.

Participants expressed serious concern about the increasing frequency, complexity, and severity of cybersecurity incidents, including network exploitation or disruptive attacks, ransomware, and hacking and leaking operations by malicious actors seeking to exploit opportunities such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The Dialogue affirmed the continued commitment of the South African and Dutch agencies to further enhance international cooperation in the fight against cybercrime while fully respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, including by playing a constructive and active role in the Ad Hoc Committee of the UN. Participants underlined the importance of strong and capable national law enforcement institutions and judicial authorities, as well as the value of international exchanges of best practices and technical knowledge involving multiple stakeholders.

Both countries highlighted the importance of international mechanisms that contribute to keeping cyberspace open, free, stable and secure, including the UN Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG, 2021-2025) and the International Telecommunications Union. In that regard, South Africa and the Netherlands reaffirmed their commitment to the United Nations framework for responsible state behavior endorsed by the General Assembly. They reaffirmed their intention to act in accordance with these consensus agreements and to promote a peaceful and stable cyberspace based on international law, including human rights law, and the 11 norms of responsible state conduct. South Africa and the Netherlands expressed their common desire for multilateral discussions to be based on inclusiveness and transparency and noted the importance of enabling means of implementation support for developing countries, in the form of financing, technology transfer and development. capacity building, as well as engagement with the multi-stakeholder community. Participants noted with appreciation the ongoing international efforts to implement confidence-building and capacity-building measures to strengthen the existing international legal order and help implement the normative framework. Both countries recognized the need for international coordination to respond to irresponsible behavior in cyberspace that undermines international peace and security, taking fully into account the specific national circumstances and capabilities of each country.

Both countries highlighted the positive results of bilateral cooperation projects in the field of cyber capacity building, such as jointly organized regional roundtables and cyber diplomacy training. South Africa and the Netherlands agreed to collaborate more on joint initiatives that promote awareness, strengthen digital resilience, incident response and skills development, among other things.

The delegations of South Africa and the Netherlands expressed their appreciation for holding this bilateral cyber policy dialogue and looked forward to organizing another bilateral cyber dialogue in due course.

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