NEW YORK – 29 June 2021 – The UAE emphasized its commitment to creating the necessary infrastructure and mechanisms to enhance its cybersecurity capabilities, both to protect itself against cyber threats and to better work with others to address shared challenges.

“The Middle East is not immune to the risk posed by malicious cyber activity – it is often the target of major cyber operations and espionage,” the UAE said in a written statement to the UN Security Council’s open debate on cyber security, the first debate held by the body on this subject. “In the last few years, our region has witnessed severe incidents affecting the telecommunications, banking, and public sectors. Oil and natural gas installations have also been targeted, causing hundreds of millions in damages. Such malicious cyber activity on the region’s critical infrastructure has the potential to spark a conflict in an already tense environment and pose a threat to international peace and security.”

The UAE noted that it is developing a comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy and a national cyber incident response plan through the UAE Cybersecurity Council. The UAE highlighted that it hosts the world’s largest cybersecurity and digital transformation conferences including GITEX, GISEC, and Cybertech to build domestic capacity, and that it has developed a platform for public-private partnership to facilitate information sharing. Additionally, the UAE outlined its collaboration with states, international organizations, and private sector entities to share information at the policy and technical levels.

In its statement, the UAE recommended that Member States of the UN provide training and capacity at the bilateral, regional, and international levels, including through training programs and the development of guidance for responsible state behavior. In this regard, the UAE noted that these actions can act as confidence-building measures in response to mistrust and misunderstandings in cyberspace that can pose a risk to international peace and security. The UAE also recommended that Member States continue to share their views and assessments with the UN Secretary-General and that they actively participate in cyber-related international fora and cross-regional formats to share best practices.

“All states have a responsibility of promoting international peace and security, both online and offline,” the UAE said. “Abiding by norms of responsible state behavior in tandem with obligations under international law is the best place to start.”