Estonia takes part in two UN working groups for cyber stability

Estonia is this autumn participating in two UN working groups for cyber stability – the UN open-ended working group and the UN group of governmental experts.

On 9 September, the open-ended working group held its first meeting in New York; Estonia was represented by the ambassador at large for cyber security, Heli Tiirmaa-Klaar, the country’s foreign ministry said in a statement. That group focuses on cyber security and was created as an addition to the group of governmental experts.

The latter group also convenes in the fall; Estonia was selected to participate in it for the fifth time, the ministry added.

“Both are among the most influential formats for discussing global norms for responsible state behaviour and acknowledging the fact that international law also applies in cyberspace,” the foreign ministry said.

“Estonia supports the establishment of cyber norms and international law in cyberspace,” Tiirmaa-Klaar said.” Together with like-minded countries, we are also making every effort to prevent the fragmentation of the internet and to ensure that states behave in a responsible manner and consider human rights in cyberspace, which is gaining importance.”

Cyber experts from 25 countries

“The UN is among the central formats for this purpose and participating in these working groups plays an important part in meeting Estonia’s cybersecurity objectives as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council,” she added.

The UN working group of cyber experts includes 25 countries from across the world and its tenure lasts for two years, after which it presents its proposals for adoption to the 2021 UN General Assembly. In terms of international law, the previous proposals of the cyber experts have been among the most successful in establishing international cyber norms, according to the foreign ministry.

The open-ended working group for the 2019-2020 period is open to all UN member states and it will present its conclusions to the 2020 UN General Assembly based on a consensus.

On 7 June, Estonia was, for the first time, elected a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.

Cover: UN General Assembly Hall in New York City.