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EU CyberNet Annual Conference 2021: Building Cyber Capacities in the Digital Decade

The second EU CyberNet Annual Conference aims to take stock of and reflect on the implications of the various developments in EU cyber capacity building implementation with a hybrid event in Brussels and transmitted online to a Europe-wide audience.

Cyber capacity building (CCB) has become a mainstream topic that is on the agendas of stakeholders around the world, from international organisations to national cyber security bodies, from cyber security practitioners to academics. Despite the global pandemic, the EU’s external cyber capacity programmes and projects have grown their global reach, making more use of the online tools while also reaching out to new countries to share and promote the EU’s expertise as well as values.

At the same time, cyber security capacity in its essence is a moving target, against the background of constant innovations in technology and increasing digitalisation – as well as the proliferation of various types of cyber security threats. As a result, the entire global CCB effort is expanding, the aspirations of the stakeholders are rising and the diversity of expertise – both demanded and offered – is growing. Moreover, the EU’s ambitions and investments into CCB are growing as the implementation of the 2020 EU Cybersecurity Strategy for the Digital Decade is ongoing.

The conference is to bring together distinguished experts, stakeholders and partners from across the EU, with a few guest speakers from outside the EU, to discuss issues that are all essential to CCB. The EU CyberNet community includes cyber security experts that cover the full range of needs of the EU as well as the cyber competent institutions from all the Member States who all share the goal of making cyberspace a more secure place, both in the EU and around the world.

This event is invitation only. If you wish to follow the Annual Conference and other EU CyberNet events, please show interest to join our Network.

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EU CyberNet Annual Conference Agenda

09:30 – 10:15 Registration and coffee
10:15 – 10:45 Keynote speeches

  • Dr Hilde Hardeman, Director and Head of Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI), European Commission
  • Mr Andres Sutt, Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology, Estonia

10:45 – 11:35 Panel 1:  Getting it right – top EU priorities for capacity building

This panel will present current EU policies and discuss the emerging trends, the EU’s cyber capacity building needs, coordination and funding priorities until 2027. It will also address synergies with the EU Member States.

Setting the scene: “Main challenges with capacity building” – Ms Joanneke Balfoort, Director, Security and Defence Policy, EEAS

  • Ms Veronika Boskovic-Pohar, Representative to the Political and Security Committee, Slovenia
  • Mr Thierry Barbé, Head of Unit, DG INTPA F5
  • Mr Jesper Pedersen, Deputy Head of Unit, FPI.1
  • Mr Csaba Virag, Director of Capacity Building, Talgen Cybersecurity

11:35 – 11:45 Coffee break
11:45 – 12:00 Quo vadis EU CyberNet?

EU CyberNet’s activities overview and plans for the future.

  • Mr Siim Alatalu, Director of EU CyberNet

12:00 – 12:50 Panel 2: Global drive for digitalisation – a challenge for cybersecurity?

This session bridges cybersecurity and digitalisation by introducing ongoing efforts against the background of emerging technologies and related cybersecurity challengesaddressing main challenges for the implementation of capacity building projects and seeking for possible complementarity on the efforts in the area of digitalisation and cybersecurity.

Setting the scene: “Supporting digital transformation in Eastern Partnership – case study of Ukraine” – Mr Tanel Tang, Member of Support Group for Ukraine, Thematic/Programme Lead for Cyber in Eastern Partnership countries

  • Ms Kerry-Ann Barrett, Cybersecurity Program Officer, Organization of American States
  • Mr Jo de Muynck, Head of the Operational Cooperation Unit, ENISA
  • Mr Bertrand Lathoud, Head of the Cybersecurity Competence Center (C3), Luxembourg
  • Mr Kaan Sahin, International Policy Advisor, Germany

12:50 – 13:50 Lunch break
13:50 – 14:50 Parallel sessions

Session 1 – Cyber capacity building projects in service of EU cyber diplomacy

The importance of cyber capacity building has been noted in the UN in ensuring international peace and security. The EU is in a good position to help put in practice their recommendations thanks to its various CCB projects, so this session will discuss how to best support our partners in addition to what the EU is already doing.

Setting the scene: Mr Henri Verdier, Ambassador for Digital Affairs, Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, France

  • Ms Heli Tiirmaa-Klaar, Ambassador-at-large for Cyber Diplomacy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia
  • Ms Manon Le Blanc, Head of Cyber Sector, EEAS
  • Ms Maartje Peters, Head of International Cyber Policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands
  • Dr Patryk Pawlak, Brussels Executive Officer, EU Institute for Security Studies

Session 2 – Challenges of bilateral state cooperation at cyber capacity building measures in Africa

This parallel session will focus on both the opportunities as well as the challenges in designing and implementing cyber capacity building projects. The session is organised in cooperation with the Federal Foreign Office of Germany and live-streamed online, including for the on-site audience in Brussels.

Setting the scene: Dr Regine Grienberger, Cyber Ambassador, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Germany

  • Mr John Reyels, Head of Cyber Policy Division, Federal Foreign Office, Germany
  • Dr Towela Nyirenda-Jere, Head of Economic Integration, AUDA-NEPAD
  • Ms Laura Carpini, Head of Cyber Security and Policies, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Italy
  • Mr Martin Bierwirth, Federal Office for Cyber Security, Germany

14:50 – 16:00 Wrap-up and cocktail

The conference is moderated by Mr Uku Särekanno, eu-LISA.