Statement by Michele Markoff, United States Advisor, on Agenda Item 55 (b-c): Globalization and Interdependence, in the Second Committee Plenary Debate of the Sixty fourth Session of the United Nations General Assembly

U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
Michele Markoff, United States Advisor
New York, NY
October 21, 2009


Mr. Chairman, Cyber security is a critical issue for UN member states in this increasingly globalized world.  Networked information systems increasingly make an indispensable contribution to most of the essential functions of daily life, to commerce and the provision of goods and services, research, innovation, entrepreneurship, and to the free flow of information among individuals, organizations and governments.  Information technology has become a powerful tool, opening access to new markets, promoting economic development, and even facilitating the timely delivery of humanitarian assistance, in fundamentally new ways.  This reliance on globally networked information infrastructures for the daily well-being of citizens around the world is expected only to increase in the future.
Yet even as the reliance grows, threats to the reliable functioning of these globally networked information systems and to the integrity of the information these networks carry are increasing in number, sophistication and gravity, affecting the welfare of individuals, of nations and the globally linked international community. These threats emanate from many sources, mostly criminal in nature.  The United States has long believed that, while every citizen has a role to play in ensuring cyber security, governments must take a leadership role in ensuring that all elements of civil society take effective steps to improve the safety and security of cyberspace.
Moreover, cyber attacks can easily cross borders, posing economic and security threats, potentially inflicting damage on a massive scale.  Thus, whatever important steps individual nations may take to protect their national information, there must also be international collaboration on cyber security. 

The United States has undertaken a variety of initiatives designed to enhance national and international cyber security.  In 2000 and 2001, in the Third Committee, the United States sponsored resolutions that addressed the need to combat the criminal misuse of information technology.  In 2002 and 2003, here in the Second Committee, the United States, with the support of many co-sponsors, sought to bring to the attention of the UN membership some successful regional efforts to promote various aspects of building a global culture of cybersecurity and encouraged all nations to take systematic steps to protect their networked information systems.

Over the last several years, the United States has been gratified to see the efforts of a number of regional multilateral and international organizations develop important programs on cybersecurity, including of course the 2003 and 2005 World Summits on the Information Society. This year, the United States together with co-sponsors, Australia, Israel, the Marshall Islands and Japan, will offer a resolution that recognizes the increasing importance of cybersecurity to all aspects of social and economic development; that commends a variety of important regional and international efforts in this area; and offers a means for each nation to take private stock of the progress they have made domestically on cybersecurity by employing a generic self-assessment tool that will enable nations at any level of development to evaluate various aspects of its efforts.

This resolution is intended to help member states to better understand the current state of cyber security in their nation through an assessment of:

• National cyber security needs and strategies;
• Cyber security roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders within society;
• Policy processes and level of participation in forums for collaboration on cyber security policy;
• Public-private partnership on national cyber security goals;
• Capacity for incident management and recovery;
• Legal frameworks and authorities regarding misuse of information technology; and
• Efforts to raise public awareness of the need for cyber security efforts at every level of society.

The United States looks forward to the cooperation of member states in reaching consensus on this important draft resolution.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


PRN: 2009/242