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Furthering the peaceful use of ICTs

Interconnected world

Our world is connected
through the ICT environment

Few technologies have been as powerful as information and communications technologies (ICTs) in reshaping economies, societies and international relations. Cyberspace touches every aspect of our lives. The benefits are enormous, but these do not come without risk.


Higher dependence, higher risks

There are disturbing trends in the global ICT environment, including a dramatic increase in incidents involving the malicious use of ICTs by State and non-State actors. These trends create risks for all States, and the misuse of ICTs may harm international peace and security.

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United Nations Group of Governmental Experts work to deal with ICT threats
in the context of international security

Since 2004, five United Nations Groups of Governmental Experts (GGEs) have made assessments and recommendations on how to deal with the threats posed by the use of ICTs in the context of international security. Three GGEs agreed on substantive reports with conclusions and recommendations that were welcomed by all United Nations Member States.

Importantly, in 2015, the General Assembly unanimously adopted resolution 70/237, in which it calls upon Member States to be guided in their use of ICTs by the 2015 GGE report.

Online training course on cyberdiplomacy

Based on the assessments and recommendations of the GGE reports, the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs has developed, with the support of the Government of Singapore and in collaboration with other key partners, this online training course to encourage greater understanding of the use of ICTs and its implications for international security.

Five pillars of work

The GGEs have undertaken five pillars of work, which are discussed in this online training course:

Computer virus
Scales of justice
Positive and negative norms
Hands with globe
Five pillars
Existing and emerging threats
International law
Norms, rules and principles
Confidence-building measures
International cooperation and assistance in capacity-building

Course modules

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Introduction to the GGE process

What is the GGE process and how does it work? What issues have the GGEs considered?

Existing and emerging threats

What threats to international ICT security have been identified by the GGEs? What foreseeable developments could exacerbate existing threats?

International law

How does international law apply to the use of ICTs? What recommendations have the GGEs made in this area?

Norms, rules and principles

What are the 11 voluntary, non-binding norms of responsible State behaviour recommended by the GGEs?

Confidence-building measures

What are confidence-building measures and why do we need them with respect to ICTs? What are the key GGE recommendations for confidence-building? What CBM initiatives already exist?

International cooperation and assistance in capacity-building

How can States work together to build their capacity to further the peaceful use of ICTs? How can we ensure sustainability in capacity-building?