Thematic Discussion on Other Disarmament Measures and International Security – UNFC October 2023
Statement by the United States as Delivered by Ambassador Bruce Turner
Thank you, Chair.
The United States has a positive vision for how other disarmament measures can contribute to alleviating divisiveness and improve international security and global cooperation. In this regard, the United States reaffirms its strong support for broad and equitable access to goods and technologies that facilitate current and future economic development.
Nonproliferation controls, such as multilateral export control regimes, build confidence and facilitate peaceful cooperation, and therefore are instrumental to allowing global trade to flourish. All countries should benefit from technologies that hold the promise to enrich lives and solve global challenges. Regimes to expand access to these technologies through safe and responsible transfers provide much-needed guardrails to ensure peaceful technologies are not diverted to military purposes; all countries should seek these safeguards.
This year marks 25 years since Member States began working together to prevent conflict in cyberspace. During this time, we have made significant progress involving broader stakeholders and investing in the full and effective participation of women at all levels of decision-making, which is essential to achieving sustainable peace and security. Our collective efforts also have led to the consensus affirmation of a comprehensive framework, incorporating existing international law, non-binding norms, and confidence-building measures to guide states in the responsible use of cyberspace.
With increased malicious cyber activity around the world, it is important for all Member States to implement this framework. We appreciate the current Open-Ended Working Group’s contribution to this effort and strongly support Singapore’s able chairmanship. The United States is pleased to support the OEWG’s 2023 Annual Progress report and looks forward to participating in its continued work, including advancing the Points of Contact directory. The work of the OEWG belongs to every stakeholder aiming to preserve stability in cyberspace and benefit from open, interoperable, secure, and reliable Internet.
Alongside this work, a cross-regional group of States introduced the Program of Action to build on the current OEWG’s efforts to implement the consensus framework for responsible State behavior. The POA proposal envisions a permanent, inclusive, and action-oriented mechanism to provide institutional
stability within the multilateral system in the promotion of responsible State uses of Information and Communication Technologies. The United States appreciates the exceptionally inclusive and consultative approach undertaken by the proposal’s original proponents in its development and is pleased to hear Member States continue to express strong support.
Earlier this year, the Secretary General released a report that demonstrated remarkable unity among states about the function and comprehensive scope of the POA proposal. His report also underscored States’ recognition of the risks to peace and security in cyberspace and desire for a permanent and inclusive UN mechanism on cyber issues.
This year’s resolution tabled by France takes an important step forward by proposing a permanent mechanism to follow the conclusion of the OEWG. Taking this step now will ensure a seamless transition from the OEWG to a permanent mechanism for regular institutional dialogue on the security of Information and Communication Technologies.
The resolution maintains the core elements from last year’s resolution that received 156 votes in support, including a strong focus on capacity building. The resolution also affirms the OEWG will continue to play a primary role in its establishment. Indeed, regular institutional dialogue has been discussed over two consecutive OEWGs, and we trust that under Singapore’s leadership, the OEWG will continue to yield fruitful dialogue on the scope, content, and modalities of the permanent mechanism. We urge every Member State to support this resolution.
In contrast to the work by France and Singapore to drive us toward a common vision, Russia’s draft resolution is yet another attempt to steer the OEWG discussions toward a narrow, authoritarian agenda. The United States is gravely concerned to see Russia relying on controversial, non-consensus text to re-interpret the OEWG’s work and undermine existing consensus documents. This while Russia and its friends continue conduct flagrant, malicious activity in cyberspace with impunity. The United States cannot support this text.
In conclusion, we have an opportunity this year to move forward on cyber issues beyond the end of the current OEWG in 2025. Our objectives remain the same as they have been for 25 years: to prevent conflict arising from States’ use of Information and Communication Technologies and minimize civilian suffering stemming from the use of those technologies in the conduct of armed conflict. It is up to all of us to seize this chance to chart an inclusive, consensus-driven, action-oriented path forward.