H.E. The Minister Addresses Global Conference on CyberSpace GCCS 2015 in the Netherlands

Saturday, April 18, 2015
H.E. The Minister Addresses Global Conference on CyberSpace GCCS 2015 in the Netherlands

H.E. Dr. Hessa Al-JaberH.E. Dr. Hessa Al-Jaber, Minister of Information and Communications Technology was in The Hague, the Netherlands to participate in the fourth Global Conference on CyberSpace 2015 (GCCS 2015), organized by the Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry, on April 16-17.

Representatives from governments, private sector and civil society gathered in order to promote practical cooperation in cyberspace, enhance cyber capacity building and knowledge exchange, and discuss norms for responsible behavior in cyberspace.

Dr. Al-Jaber, who represented the State of Qatar, said in a Policy Statement, “Qatar has taken steps into transitioning from a traditional hydro-carbon based economy to a Digital Economy. We have grown extremely fast and are constantly developing with high adoption rates of ICT. However, digital inter-connectedness is only beneficial if we can ensure our citizens and businesses are safe in the digital world that we are transitioning to.”

“In data privacy,” she said, “Qatar is an active player in promoting the right to privacy in the digital age. We support the United Nation’s efforts in this regard.”

H.E. the Minister urged all countries to consider the following:

  • Privacy is not just a technological challenge; it is a people centric issue, saying, “We must not forget the importance of education and awareness on its risks.
  • Governments need to strike a balance between the citizen’s natural aspirations to protect their information while also enabling business to grow.
  • Governments should reinforce the mechanisms that promote transparency and open data access.
  • With regards to social and economic growth, Qatar has created environment that fosters ICT innovation, through the development of proper legal framework and skills.
  • Our cyber safety and digital literacy program is embedded in the early stages of our education system, while also providing internet access and ICT training to minority groups and the labor workforce.
  • We have also issued various policies and regulations in-line with international treaties and practices such as the 2014 Cybercrime law, policies to ensure open data and transparency, and a law on personal information privacy protection will be released soon.

Moving forward I urge all countries here also to consider the following

  • The Internet must become more resilient across nations. We applaud the concerted efforts of the ITU and ICANN in this regard.
  • International coordination should continue in helping bridging the digital divide between nations.
  • Governments should harmonize their jurisdictions in cyberspace through UN initiatives. 

With regards to Cyber Security in Qatar, protecting national critical infrastructure has always been a prime objective of our approach. 

We started early with the establishment of the regions first CERT in 2008. The 2014 Qatar National Cyber Security Strategy was drafted through a multi-stakeholder committee and focuses on 5 key objectives: Safeguarding national CII; Responding adequately to cyber incidents; Establishing cyber legal and regulatory frameworks; Fostering a culture of Cyber Security; and developing national capabilities.

Finally, I urge all countries here to consider the following:

  • Public authorities should work closely with the private sectors and civil societies by engaging into open discussions, sharing information and developing public private partnerships to enhance the protection of nations’ critical assets. 
  • Governments should build a common understanding of threats through norms and standards.
  • Establishing a common cyber risk information exchange framework between nations will help address the challenges of predictability of cyber threats. Qatar is supporting the UN reports highlighted by the Seoul framework, which can serve as a basis to develop such information-sharing model.

Noteworthy, the GCCS 2015 in the Netherlands is an extension of previous cyber space conferences in Budapest, London and Seoul.