High-level Side-Event on
Cyber security and International Cooperation
H. E. Sheikh Hasina
Hon’ble Prime Minister
Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
UNHQ, New York.
25 September 2018
Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
It is a pleasure to be with you all. In 2008, we had made a commitment in our election manifesto to build a ‘Digital Bangladesh’. In the last ten years, we have made Bangladesh digital, taking its benefits to our people’s doorsteps.
ICT has indeed transformed Bangladesh. An extensive IT infrastructure covers the whole country. Internet density rate is growing by the day. ICT is considered a key engine in our sustainable development efforts. Services in education, health, agriculture and social protection are now being delivered online.
On 11 May 2018, Bangladesh has entered the space era with the successful launching of its first satellite Bangabandhu I. With this technological feat, we have become the 57th country to have its own satellite in outer space.
Our hard earned gains in the ICT sector need to be made secure. The cyber space remains open to many threats and risks. Critical infrastructures around the world have become regular target of cyber attacks. Some states are even working on using ICT for military purposes. Terrorists and violent extremists are using it to spread their toxic narratives. The risks from misuse of ICT can be serious for international peace and security.
The cyber space has no physical borders. States’ capacity for securing it is far from even. In an inter-connected world, the weaker links can cause disruption for others. Cyber security should thus become a concern for all, and not just a select few.
Identifying the actual source of wrongful activity remains a challenge. Developing countries should have access to technologies and information to detect such sources.
The UN can play a critical role in making the digital world safer. The work on norm-setting in information security should continue. The mechanisms used so far should be made more inclusive. Developing countries should be given a chance to voice their concerns. The Secretary General’s Agenda for Disarmament recognises that.
Confidence building measures should help States overcome any breach of trust. States should promote the use of non-offensive means to prevent and counter harmful cyber activity. The question of rights and freedoms in cyberspace needs to be duly addressed. The role of the private sector and civil society must be factored in.
The norms and principles for responsible State behaviour in cyber space should receive unconditional support. The principles of the UN Charter and relevant international law should apply to the cyber space. States must remain true to their commitment not to conduct or support any harmful cyber activity.
States should also prevent their territory from being used for wrongful acts against other nations’ interest. Bangladesh takes these commitments seriously. We expect others to do the same.
International cooperation in capacity building for cyber security must be given priority. Development partners should consider this to be part of their internationally agreed commitments. In Bangladesh, we are working on building a complete cyber security eco-system.
Our Parliament has recently enacted the Digital Security Act. A Cyber security Incident Response Team is in place, which cooperates with other countries. A Digital Forensic Laboratory has been set up for training purposes. A National Cyber Security Agency is in the process of being set up. We hope to keep learning from the experience of other friendly countries.
Twenty years ago, during my first term as Prime Minister, Bangladesh launched the idea of a culture of peace at the General Assembly. As I draw close to the end of my third term in Office, I pledge Bangladesh’s support for promoting a culture of cyber security at the UN and beyond. A UN High-level Conference on Cyber-security can be an important building block for that.
We must demonstrate our strong political resolve to create a secure, stable, peaceful, inclusive and accessible cyber space for our future generations.
I thank the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and this event’s co-sponsors for sharing that sense of responsibility with us.
I thank you all.
Joi Bangla, Joi Bangabandhu
Long live Bangladesh