Intervention by Mr. Md. Rafiqul Alam Molla, Counsellor at the 7th Substantive Session of the Open-Ended Working Group on security of and in the use of information and communications technologies 2021-2025 (OEWG) on Rules, Norms and Principles on 05 March, 2024 at CR-4, UNHQs

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

My delegation commends your efforts in presenting the Chair’s Discussion Paper on a Checklist of Practical Actions for the Implementation of Voluntary, Non-binding Norms of Responsible State Behaviors in the Use of ICTs.  Which, in our view, is a solid basis and my delegation fully subscribe to it to further our discussions in this regard.

Chair, my delegation believes that building a strong cybersecurity posture requires a cultural shift. Equipping future generations with digital literacy skills through cybersecurity education in schools’curriculums, starting from the elementary level, is a crucial first step.  Promoting a culture of peace and its programme of action, which my delegation is promoting at the UN, remains equally important online as it does offline.

Furthermore, workshops and training programs for businesses and government employees on cyber hygiene practices are essential.  To solidify these efforts, fostering public-private partnerships is critical for the development and promotion of best practices in secure software development and coding, ensuring that software is secured by design. This lays a strong foundation for a more secure digital future.

Developing standardized formats for reporting ICT incidents to facilitate information sharing and analysis by relevant authorities is a critically important first step as practical actions for implementing voluntary norms.

To ensure a nuanced understanding of ICT incidents and develop effective response strategies, a multi-pronged approach is essential. First, conduct a meticulous technical analysis, scrutinizing attack methods, tools, and, if possible, identifying the origin. Equally crucial is an impact assessment, evaluating the incident’s scope, scale, and repercussions on critical infrastructure, businesses, and individuals.

However, the evaluation shouldn’t stop at technical aspects. A comprehensive contextual analysis is necessary, considering the geopolitical landscape, potential motives, and any historical incidents with similar characteristics. Navigating attribution challenges in the cyber domain with prudence, acknowledging complexities, and avoiding hasty conclusions based on circumstantial evidence is paramount.

Employing this holistic approach ensures a well-rounded understanding of ICT incidents, paving the way for informed and effective response strategies.

The most effective approach to translating these norms into concrete action lies in collective efforts between states. This collaborative endeavor should focus on providing guidance on the interpretation and implementation of these principles, ensuring their effective application in the evolving cyber landscape. To that end, Bangladesh emphasizes that all states should have a common and comprehensive understanding of these norms.

In pursuit of this shared understanding, we need to address the Skill Gap as a matter of priority. This includes fostering information sharing and facilitating the exchange of knowledge, experience, and expertise. These actions are deemed basic, yet their simplicity and effectiveness make them readily implementable and valuable in strengthening cybersecurity capabilities for nations in need. In this regard, we underscore the importance of strengthening and expanding inclusive, active, and sustainable participation in international processes like the OEWG. We emphasize the need for dedicated fellowships for developing countries, particularly for LDCs, to facilitate their participation in the UN process.

I thank you.