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Cyber capacity building as a development issue: What role for regional organisations?

The European Cyber Security Strategy establishes capacity building as a priority for the EU’s international cyberspace policy. Cyber capacity building requires a horizontal approach across different development policy fields, focusing on improving governance, protecting infrastructure, endorsing the rule of law and providing training. These requirements will be included into various EU instruments available for development assistance. In the future, a considerable increase in funding is foreseen for cyber capacity building programmes conducted by the EU. To stimulate the debate on cyber capacity building and the impact it has on social and economic development worldwide, the EUISS has hosted a major conference with participants coming from international and regional organisations, governments, the private sector, and civil society. The objectives of this conference were:

1) To address the link between cyber capacities and development policies

The need to integrate cyber capacity building and development policies has been recognised by the cyber community. However, there is a clear need for a deeper dialogue with the development community and recipient countries in order to better understand how cyber capacities can contribute to the achievement of broader development goals.

2) To agree on the regional and functional focus of cyber capacity building efforts

There is a need to set priorities and identify indicators of success and failure. To steer this process, this conference aims at bringing together different communities from the fields of development assistance, cyber security, the private sector and civil society.

3) To develop international coordination in capacity building, for instance through regional organisations

Many stakeholders are involved in cyber issues. To achieve a better overview of initiatives and avoid duplication, it may be necessary to set up a clearing-house mechanism between donors and recipients. A better understanding of the added value of working through regional organisations and their contribution to capacity building efforts would also be highly beneficial.