IGF 2019 WS #131 Quantifying Peace and Conflict in Cyberspace

Organizer 1: Serge Stroobants, Institute for Economics and Peace
Organizer 2: Latha Reddy, Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace
Organizer 3: Trust Mamombe, Institute for Economics and Peace
Organizer 4: Liga Rozentale, Microsoft

Speaker 1: Izabela Albrycht, Government, Eastern European Group
Speaker 2: Latha Reddy, Government, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Marilia Maciel, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 4: Liga Rozentale, Private Sector, Eastern European Group


Serge Stroobants, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator

Ben Meany, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Caroline Groene, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Other - 60 Min
Format description: This session will merge the “tutorial” and “roundtable” formats in order to adapt to a topic of a policy pitch. The session will begin with the tutorial in which the Institute for Economics and Peace will do a deep dive on how their organization creates the Global Peace Index, their findings for 2018, and how the findings help inform policymakers around the world. Next, the session will move into a moderated roundtable discussion once participants have the baseline understanding of data and economic analysis for peace.

Policy Question(s)

How can data on cyber peace help inform policymaking? What publicly available data sources exist to measure the levels of peace in cyberspace? What are the indicators and elements needed for contributing to peace in cyberspace? What role can civil society, SMEs and the tech industry have in creating more peace in cyberspace?


GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities
GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
GOAL 17: Partnerships for the Goals

Description: Instability in cyberspace is rising with the increasing number of countries and non-state actors weaponizing technology. Today, the threats posed by cyber-attacks have the potential to disrupt everything from critical infrastructure, to elections, to the societal structures of our everyday lives. Despite the fact that cybersecurity touches news headlines and diplomatic agendas around the world, there has been limited progress on understanding the impact of conflict in cyberspace on the functioning of society. Moreover, even less is understood regarding the relationship and interdependencies between business, peace, prosperity, culture, economy and politics in cybersecurity. Efforts to measure peace, such as the index compiled annually by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), allows us to assess the social, political, and economic factors that create peace. Over the past several years, progress has been made in measuring the various indicators associated with violence, conventional weapons proliferation, crime and armed conflict, which has helped governments make more informed decisions regarding public policies. An accurate diagnosis is the basis for an effective policy response – and yet, to date, limited progress has been made on accurately measuring the impact of cyber conflict on society. For example, Northern and Western Europe often appear at the top of the lists in rankings of peaceful countries, how would those rankings differ if measured only on their levels of cyber peace? Panelists will discuss efforts such as the Diplo Foundation’s Data Diplomacy project and the IEP’s framework of measuring Positive Peace, which describes the attitudes, structures and institutions that underpin and sustain peaceful societies. Drawing from the various data-backed approaches to public policy, this panel will discuss what is needed to create and measure Positive Peace in cyberspace. The conversation is intended to bring together experts on peace and cybersecurity to exchange views and reflect on the opportunities for quantifying peace in cyberspace in order to better inform policy decisions. Proposed agenda - Tutorial: Using open source data to quantify global peace (10 minutes) o How to measure peace o Findings from the 2018 Global Peace Index - Roundtable discussion: How to measure peace in cyberspace (30 minutes) o Trends in cyber conflict today o Data indicators for cyber conflict, from cyber crime to development of cyber weapons to the prevalence of legislative and institutional frameworks on cyberecurity o What role can civil society, SMEs and the tech industry have in creating more peace in cyberspace? - Open Mic Session (10 minutes) - Conclusion: What is the path forward towards creating an index for measuring peace and conflict in cyberspace? (10 minutes)

Expected Outcomes: This workshop is designed to provide input into the existing data sources and identify remaining gaps that contribute to the lack of understanding around the quantifiable impact of threats in cyberspace. The panelists will discuss the benefit of a global cyber peace index and how its findings may or may not differ from mappings of global peace against traditional forms of conflict.

An open mic session follows the main session to enable the audience and remote participants to join the conversation and present their experiences, opinions, suggestions, etc., on how to move the debate forward. Audience discussants will either queue at their stakeholder-assigned mics, or the panel rapporteurs will bring the mics to discussants, and rotate, with online participants having their own equal queue.

Relevance to Theme: Safety and security in cyberspace are prerequisites to economic growth and a healthy digital ecosystem for all users, governments, businesses, civil society and academics alike. Under this theme, strategies for mitigating the risks and strengthening security will be addressed through the lens of data-backed approaches to quantifying the impacts to conflict in cyberspace. An accurate diagnosis is the basis for an effective policy response – and yet, to date, limited progress has been made on accurately measuring the impact of cyber conflict and corresponding potential for cyber peace on society.

Relevance to Internet Governance: This session will help create more accuracy in diagnosing the state of conflict in cyberspace by gathering data on the indicators that feed into peace in cyberspace. This diagnosis will ultimately help feed into the development of rules, norms and principles to help shape the future of cyberspace.

Online Participation

We will have two online moderators to assist with the online conversation. To broaden participation, social media (Twitter and Facebook) will also be employed by the on-line moderators who will be in charge of browsing social media using a designated hashtag.

Proposed Additional Tools: We would also like to offer an additional accessible platform in order to get more involvement from remote participants, especially those who might have a disability. Microsoft Teams, for example could be offered as a place for additional discussion before and after the panel through setting up a dedicated Teams channel for the panel. Using Microsoft Teams during the panel would enable us to turn on accessible features such as screen readers, translator and captions.

1. Key Policy Questions and Expectations

Key Policy Questions:

  1. How to ensure that e-government policies align with peace initiatives and which additional stakeholders should be involved in creating policies for e-governance, cyber security, cybercrime, etc.?
  2. What are the consequences of cyberterrorism/crime and how can we be better prepared or equipped to address such consequences?
  3. How can ‘traditional’ peacebuilding initiatives and models be of help in relation to conceptualizing cyber peace?


The initial idea for the panel grew out of discussion on the IEP’ s Global Peace Index and delving into thinking about how such an index could be applied to peace and conflict in cyberspace, measuring “digital peace”. Should we identify an additional cyber indicator, or should we track, identify and measure specific effects of security incidents in cyber space on the existing indicators of the GPI.

2. Summary of Issues Discussed

There was broad agreement among the panellists that it remains difficult to quantify peace in cyberspace. The current trends that we are seeing unfold in cyberspace fail to respect what traditional indicators are capable of telling us. Panellists agreed that there was a clear need to map peace in cyberspace, given the overwhelming evidence that Nation-States have been increasingly weaponizing the online space in recent years, while ultimately presenting the impression that militarisation has decreased globally. The core reference document of the session, the Institute of Economics and Peace 2019 Peace Index Report, indicates that peacefulness has increased globally for only the third time since the IEP reports began. That said, the data included does not include stability in relation to cyberspace, and what all panellists agree as the growing militarisation of cyberspace and the proliferation of aggressive cyber tools.

3. Policy Recommendations or Suggestions for the Way Forward

A multi-stakeholder approach is key going forward. Only by involving and respecting the views of all stakeholders in cyberspace will we be able to measure peace and stability in cyberspace, and as a result understand what is truly happening in our cyberspace in terms of increasing aggressive State behaviour.

We need to come to agree and develop new indicators, to ensure that the threshold for war and peace can be measured in cyberspace, and to give us a clearer, quantifiable understanding of what is happening in our cyberspace.

More analysis and discussion is needed going forward on how we can translate these concepts into a clearer measurement of peacefulness, that includes cyberspace and cyber activities.

4. Other Initiatives Addressing the Session Issues

The Peace Index 2019 report of the Institute of Economics and Peace was key to the discussions of the panel.

The Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace was mentioned as a broad multi-stakeholder initiative aimed at tackling the further militarisation of cyberspace.

The most recent Report of the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace was mentioned as having developed recommendations, norms and principles to be applied in cyberspace.

The ITU Global Cybersecurity Index was mentioned.

The Global State of Democracy Report was highlighted during the discussion.

While all the reports and initiatives mentioned throughout the session are undoubtedly useful reference points, there was broad understanding that clearer and innovative data indicators would help us understand the depth of what is happening in our cyberspace.

5. Making Progress for Tackled Issues

The difficulty in measuring peace in cyberspace was key to the discussion. The panellists presented a number of ideas through which this issue could be addressed. A potential direction agreed on by all panellists was that of a multi-stakeholder approach, specifically underlined through the broad referencing of the 2018 Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace. In addition, the clear need for comprehensive indicators of peacefulness and stability in cyberspace was underlined as being a necessary step forward in how we might come to terms with quantifying peace in cyberspace.

6. Estimated Participation

Onsite: Approximately 40 participants

Online: 9 participants

Women representeed aproximately 30-40% of onsite particpants.

7. Reflection to Gender Issues

Gender issues were not core to the discussion at hand. That said, aside from the onsite moderator, the panel consisted entirely of women.

8. Session Outputs

The Institute of Economics and Peace 2019 Peace Index ( https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/GPI-2019-web0… )

Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspacehttps://pariscall.international/en/ )

Report of the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspacehttps://cyberstability.org/report/ )

ITU Global Cybersecurity Indexhttps://www.itu.int/dms_pub/itu-d/opb/str/D-STR-GCI.01-2018-PDF-E.pdf )

Global State of Democracy Report https://www.idea.int/publications/catalogue/global-state-of-democracy-2… )