Commonwealth ICT ministers adopt cybergovernance model

ICT ministers from 35 Commonwealth nations have adopted a cybergovernance model that will guide national policy development of their national cyberspaces.

The ministers and their advisors met in London on March 3 and 4 at the first Commonwealth ICT Ministers’ Forum, with the consensus model based on the values and aspirations expressed in the Commonwealth Charter, which are democracy, sustainable development, human rights and the rule of law.

It is expected to contribute to a safe and effective cyberspace, support broader economic and social development, aid nations in acting individually and collectively to tackle cybercrime, and exercise rights and meet responsibilities in cyberspace.

The principles will guide Commonwealth members in planning and implementing practical actions in policy development, regulation and legislation, cross-border collaboration, capacity building, technical measures and other operational activities.

Ministers also agreed on the Commonwealth Plan for Broadband Inclusion, a strategy for advancing broadband across the 53-country membership, as well as ICTs and disability and ICTs in education. They noted Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Perth in 2011 and Colombo in 2013 had endorsed the Commonwealth Cybercrime Initiative.

At the closing ceremony of the forum, Tim Newman, acting director at the Commonwealth Secretariat, welcomed the rich discussion of some of the key issues facing Commonwealth members in the field of ICT.

“We look forward to working collaboratively with the CTO in order to clearly define our areas of comparative advantage and to ensure that the needs of all our member countries are responded to in the most effective way,” Newman said.

Professor Tim Unwin, secretary-general of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), co-host of the event, said: “The CTO is deeply honoured to have been involved in helping to shape this very important framework. It was a remarkable achievement that working together we were able to reach agreement on these very important principles. Now we all need urgently to work together collaboratively and supportively to turn these principles into real practical actions.”

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