Report on the 2023 Cyber Security Debate in the UN First Committee on
8 November 2023
Ambassador Gafoor of Singapore, the Chair of the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) on the security of and in the use of information and communications technologies 2021–2025, gave a brie ng in which he stressed the progress that has been made to date—embodied in the adoption of the second annual progress report— while highlighting the continued necessity for careful efforts to enlarge consensus. [...] The resolutions in question are L.11, “Developments in the eld of information and communication technology in the context of international security,” sponsored by Russia and China plus 17 other states, and L.60/Rev.1, 1 “Programme of action to advance responsible state behaviours in the use of information and communication technologies in the context of international security,” with 48 co-sponsors. [...] France, as the lead on L.60, explained that while it and other proponents are prepared to continue to elaborate the PoA concept within the OEWG, they wish to move promptly after the termination of the OEWG in 2025 to develop the PoA by 2026. [...] As operational paragraph (OP)4 of L.60 read, the Committee “Decides to convene a UN conference, upon the conclusion of the 2021–2025 OEWG and no later than 2026, with the mandate to deliberate on and finalize the scope, structure and contents of the PoA and the modalities for its establishment.” 2 This direction was diluted in a subsequent revision to L.60 that dropped the reference to convening a. [...] of the “mechanism” (no explicit reference to a PoA was retained in the operative paragraphs of L.60/Rev.1) “shall be based on consensus outcomes of the 2021–2025 OEWG.” It appears that Brazil in particular influenced the sponsor’s decision to revise the resolution, as the delegation in its subsequent explanation of vote (EOV) said the original text would “prejudice the outcomes of the discussions.