Statement delivered by the Minister Plenipotentiary of the Argentine Republic, Maria Paula Mac Loughlin
Argentina considers that the future of discussions on responsible behavior of the State in cyberspace and the advancement of ICT in the context of international security should ideally arise from a consensual decision of the two groups that are currently working.
The experience of having a space for open, transparent, and inclusive dialogue within the framework of the United Nations has shown the advantages and potential of this format. Likewise, although all the contributions made to date by the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) are valued, and we support the view that today there are possible complementarities between the Open-ended Working Group and the Group of Experts, the truth is that for the future it is necessary to generate a single framework that allows avoiding the risk of fragmentation of the discussions, duplication and eventual contradictions that could hinder progress in the treatment and achievement of common understandings.
Likewise, the work of the successive Groups of Experts (GGE) in the last 15 years, and since 2018 also the Open-ended Working Group, point out the need to have a dialogue framework that has continuity and that allows working with greater depth and flexibility the various issues that have made up the mandates of the aforementioned groups. After 6 renewals of the GGE and in a context in which threats in the field of cybersecurity for international peace and security are becoming increasingly visible, we understand that a turning point has been reached from which it is necessary give more institutionality to the discussions.
Along with a significant number of countries from various regions, Argentina co-sponsors the proposed Action Plan for the advancement of responsible State behavior in cyberspace presented by France and Egypt, on the understanding that it includes a good part of the elements indicated: perspective of continuity and institutionalization of the discussions, flexibility to be able to advance by stages and thematic packages around which it is possible to achieve consensus, transparency and inclusivity, and a greater political commitment around the implementation of the collection of norms, rules and principles recommended by the UN General Assembly as a guide for the responsible behavior of States in cyberspace, as well as the development of those that may be necessary.
The fact of having two Resolutions on the same agenda item is not a scenario that we favor, since it deepens the polarization and, in some way, reproduces the aforementioned duplicity, which we believe presents risks. However, faced with the reality that both projects are on the table, we find positive elements in both that deserve to be pointed out:
On the one hand, Project L.4 presented by the United States maintains that the UNGA should consider the conclusions of the two Groups (GGE and OEWG) and decide on the future work of the UNGA. We understand that this coincides with the importance that the establishment of the Plan of Action can be recommended by the two groups to the UNGA so that it can establish said Program.
On the other hand, Project L.8 presented by the Russian Federation proposes that the current UNGA decide to create a new Open-ended Working Group for the years 2021-2025. Although it is our preference that the future of the discussions may result from a consensual decision, we understand that there is no substantial incompatibility between the proposed OEWG and the possibility of establishing the POA. The type of relationship between the two initiatives and the way to reconcile the elements that the countries that co-register the POA support with the new OEWG could be discussed and even arise from the work of the current OEWG.
We understand that as an added value, Draft Resolution L.8 allows the non-interruption of the work of the OEWG in 2021, and at the same time guarantees the continuity of the open, inclusive work format with a medium and long-term vision that from our perspective is necessary.
In this sense, although we would have preferred a scenario in which there would only have been one project, taking into account that both Resolutions have elements that contribute to the advancement of the issue in the sense that we consider necessary, that is, the conclusions of both Groups make explicit the recommendation of the establishment of the Action Plan and that this be considered by the UNGA and, at the same time, that the OEWG can continue its work without interruptions and study how to establish and / or implement the Action Plan, we understand that it has been possible to support both projects.