Delivered by: His Excellency Omran Sharaf, Assistant Minister for Advanced Science and Technology

Mr. President,

I thank His Excellency Mr. Cho Tae-yul, Minister of  Foreign Affairs, for chairing this Open Debate and commend the Republic of Korea for its stewardship of the Security Council this month.

I also thank the Secretary-General and the other briefers for their insightful contributions.

As we heard today, threats to cyberspace are evolving rapidly. Malicious cyber tools and techniques, such as ransomware, phishing and denial-of-service attacks are being used to target government and private sectors networks, threatening critical infrastructure and public safety. This is especially concerning as our nations, including the UAE, undergo digital transformation, making us more reliant on secure online systems.

Educational institutions are also at risk with educational digital infrastructure and valuable information assets being targeted by malicious actors. Furthermore, the malicious use of information and communication technology (ICT), including but not limited to emerging AI technologies, act as  “threat multipliers” in existing conflicts.

Being a global hub for technology and innovation, the UAE established the Cyber Security Council in 2020. The Council aims to achieve a safer digital transformation and improve cybersecurity in the country for all targeted sectors.  We are committed to capacity building and information sharing with our partners, as well as promoting the responsible design of technology and using “AI for good” to combat the spread and amplification of hate speech, misinformation and disinformation. In line with this commitment, together with Albania, we hosted an Arria-formula in December 2023 to address these challenges.

With this in mind, I would like to offer four points for consideration:

First, international law must guide the use of cyber technologies. The UN Charter, sovereignty, non-interference in the internal affairs of state, state responsibility, and the laws of armed conflict must be respected, including the UN norms of responsible state behaviour in cyberspace. Addressing normative gaps requires continued convergences on how to uphold and maintain international law in the cyber domain.

Second, the UAE supports mainstreaming cyber concerns within the Council’s work on international peace and security. This could include referencing cyber-related concerns, trends and developments in briefings, statements and priority issues more regularly, as well as in relation to country-specific and other thematic files. For instance, resolution 2341 recognizes the necessity of protecting critical infrastructure against terrorist attacks, including cybersecurity, underscoring the need to better address the broad spectrum of cyber threats that come with digitization and cyberspace.

Third, the Council should consider convening an annual briefing on emerging technology threats and their implications for international peace and security. Furthermore, the publication of an annual cybersecurity report by the Secretary-General will provide a comprehensive assessment of the global cyber threat landscape and recommendations for enhancing international cooperation. This should also include gender analysis to better respond to threats in cyberspace targeting women and girls.

Fourth, fostering strong public-private partnerships is crucial for leveraging expertise and resources to counter cyber threats effectively. The UAE is committed to collaborating with the private sector to develop robust cybersecurity tools and build national and international capabilities, along with supporting the private sector in ensuring the secure and responsible design of their solutions.

Mr. President,

Harnessing cyber technologies is crucial for our future, but vigilance against their risks is essential. International cooperation and capacity-building are vital for global security resilience.

The UAE will continue to advance responsible behavior in cyberspace and ensure it reflects our collective aspiration for peace and security. 

Thank you.