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EU CyberNet Stakeholder Community consists of national cyber authorities and competence centers, EU bodies and projects, international cybersecurity organizations, think tanks and academic institutions from the EU Member States. Coming together in person and having intense discussions on the ongoing cyber capacity-building topics was crucial for further progress and cooperation within the framework of the Stakeholder Community. This article gives an overview of the main discussions during the day.
Bridging cyber diplomacy and capacity building
Jakub Otčenášek, Czech Cyber Attaché and the Chair of the Horizontal Working Party on Cyber Issues, firstly pointed out that Czechia has identified cyber capacity building (CCB) as one of the top priorities for the Czech EU Presidency regarding cyber issues. Accordingly, Jakub encouraged the community to focus on more strategic long-term thinking.
Patryk Pawlak, Brussels Executive Officer from EU Institute for Security Studies, gave a very meaningful overview of the three main strategies when approaching cyber diplomacy capacity building:
BLENDING: embedding cyber diplomacy in a project design
BRIDGING: strengthening links with the existing projects
CONSOLIDATING: cyber diplomacy as a distinct pillar in capacity-building projects
The discussion afterward had a strong focus on Ukraine and the possible future capacity-building activities there. It was mutually agreed that the infrastructure going to be built one day in Ukraine, needs to be integrated with the EU and the Member States.
EU’s policy updates and programming in cyber capacity building
EEAS and European Commission officials gave interesting insights and updated the audience on their policies, programming, and projects. EEAS’ representative, Helen Popp, opened the discussion by giving an overview of the EU’s approach to various cyber-related diplomatic activities, e.g. Cyber Dialogues, UN processes, etc.
Allan Jones, Head of Unit in DG NEAR, gave a really interesting overview of the Commission’s activities in the Western Balkans considering the recent wave of cyber attacks in the region, the Eastern Neighbourhood in regards to the Russian aggression against Ukraine and the Southern Neighbourhood.
Ondrej Vosatka, Programme Manager in the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI), summed up their ongoing cyber capacity-building actions. FPI manages projects from cybercrime to cyber resilience and cyber diplomacy, and among others, one of the key actions is to provide rapid cyber security assistance to Western Balkans countries.
Tomasz Husak, Adviser to the Digital Agenda and Data Technologies from DG INTPA, spoke about their three main strands of work in regard to cyber: 1) Cyber Capacity Building, 2) Cyber Mainstreaming, and 3) Cybersecurity Dialogue and Regulatory Framework.
Mapping of EU and Member States’ cyber capacity-building projects
EU CyberNet has recently launched a cyber capacity-building mapping exercise for EU and Member States’ funded cyber actions with the help of Commission services and EEAS. Kristo Põllu from EU CyberNet gave a good preliminary overview of the first mapping results. The final results and conclusions of the mapping will be published soon on the EU CyberNet website.
Global cyber capacity building trends
Is cyber capacity building learning the coordination lessons from development or is it stuck at aspirations?
Nayia Barmpaliou, the Non-Resident Expert at EUISS & the Executive Director of Cyber Lab International, introduced her striking point of view about the increasing trend of CCB projects, investments, actors and scope.
The key takeaway from Nayia’s speech was the growing gap between principles and aspirations for CCB coordination and its implementation amongst donors, implementors, partner countries and regional organisations, the private sector, and civil society, which creates a real risk of duplication and persistent fragmentation.
She concluded by saying:
We are slowly getting better by moving toward stronger coordination and overcoming the challenges.
Her intervention was followed by regional discussions in the groups of Africa, Eastern Neighbourhood & Western Balkans, Indo-Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Stakeholder Community Day was a real success as we gathered the bright minds of our partners in one room to discuss common goals. Thank you all for participating!
GALLERY! Within the framework of the XXVIII Ibero-American Summit on March 27, 2023, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell Fontelles inaugurates Latin America and Caribbean Cyber Capacity Center (LAC4) with the first official visit.
EU CyberNet’s mandate is to gather various communities within the European Union – experts, projects and stakeholders to boost collaboration and coherence. Various coordination and community-building events were organised for different communities during 2022.
By Silja-Madli Ossip, Policy Officer, EU CyberNet
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