Mr President,


I would like to thank the Republic of Korea for organizing this important debate on the challenges of cybersecurity. I would also like to thank the Secretary-General, Professor Nnenna Ifeanyi-Ajufo, and Mr. Stéphane Duguin, CEO of the CyberPeace Institute in Geneva, for their contributions.


Switzerland is witnessing two decisive developments in cyberspace that are of concern to us. On the one hand, the increasing digitization of conflicts and the use of cyber operations in armed conflicts are transforming the nature of these conflicts. On the other, the growing intensity of ransomware and state-sponsored cyberattacks against critical infrastructure is a major concern for Switzerland. The use of ransomware to extort currency and cryptocurrencies, or the targeting of critical infrastructures, threatens to paralyze key structures in our societies. These activities also affect the international community's ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, due to the heightened vulnerability of developing countries. They can pose a threat to international peace and security, and therefore fall within the mandate of this Council.


The concept note proposed by the Republic of Korea asks what role the Council can play in addressing threats arising from malicious activities in cyberspace. Let me outline some options in this regard.


First, the Council should regularly take note of current cybersecurity developments and threats. Given the multidimensional implications and geographical scope of the issue, it would be appropriate for the Council to hold a regular briefing. The briefing could include presentations by representatives of UN entities, the private sector, civil society and academia, as well as other relevant entities. This awareness-raising would enable the Council to make fully informed decisions, particularly on specific geographical issues and in the context of peacekeeping operations.


Second, the Council should reaffirm certain established principles. We attach particular importance to the applicability of international law in cyberspace, and in particular international humanitarian law, to activities in cyberspace in the context of armed conflict. The Council should also emphasize the importance of State responsibility and due diligence, and recognize the eleven norms of responsible State behavior in cyberspace. These elements, complemented by confidence-building and capacity-building measures, constitute the framework for responsible state behavior in the use of ICTs that has been adopted by consensus by all UN Member States. We would support a Council product that affirms this framework and thus contributes to rebuilding trust.


Finally, the Council's activities must be complementary to those of other bodies. It is not for the Council to develop rules of behavior or agreements. This is the prerogative of the General Assembly and the expert processes it has mandated. The Council should focus its attention on developing its understanding of risks and their mitigation, including in specific cases.


Mr. President,


The responsible use of cyberspace offers enormous opportunities to meet tomorrow's challenges, despite the recognized risks. In his New Agenda for Peace, the Secretary-General encourages us to find new ways to protect ourselves from these new threats. While the negotiations on the Pact for the Future provide us with an opportunity to develop a common understanding in this regard, the Council also has a key role to play. Today's debate confirms this.


I thank you.

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