IGF 2021 Open Forum #28 Online knowledge portals for national cyber capacity

Wednesday, 8th December, 2021 (08:30 UTC) - Wednesday, 8th December, 2021 (09:30 UTC)
Conference Room 8

Cybersecurity practices and mechanisms: What are the good cybersecurity practices and international mechanisms that already exist? Where do those mechanisms fall short and what can be done to strengthen the security and to reinforce the trust?

Round Table - U-shape - 60 Min


Online knowledge portals for national cybersecurity capacity: challenges & opportunities.

Access to knowledge and information on good practices is seen as one of the keys to helping countries strengthen their capacity to tackle cybercrime and cybersecurity risks and protect the benefits of ICT.  It helps each country, their citizens and international cyber capacity building efforts to have online sources of information on national capacity data, key country documents (e.g. laws and policies), good practices, lessons learned and relevant international projects. Several online portals have been established in response to this need for easy access to this information. Their number and depth of their content grows each year, which creates opportunities and challenges.

In this session we will invite participants and a panel of experts to discuss what is working well, what lessons the community of portals can learn and what should be done in the future to help users and portal managers. This session builds upon the session at the IGF session in 2016 “Fostering Dialogue between Internet Observatories and Maps”.

The session will be available online using the IGF’s Online Participation Platform.


The Global Forum on Cyber Expertise (GFCE) - on behalf of the Cybil Knowledge Portal

  • Stephanie Borg Psaila, DiploFoundation
  • Carolin Weisser Harris, Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre
  • Roeland van Zeijst, Dutch National Police
  • Kathleen Bei, GFCE/Cybil Knowledge Portal

The Open Forum will be chaired by Christopher Painter, President of the GFCE Foundation and former top US Cyber Diplomat.


Online Moderator

Kathleen Bei, GFCE


Kathleen Bei, GFCE


9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
10. Reduced Inequalities
16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Targets: ICT makes a contribution to all SDGs and national cybersecurity capacity underpins and makes resilient and safe this ICT. However, there is an especially strong link from cyber capacity to SDGs 9, 10 and 16. The online portals that share knowledge about national cyber capacity and projects are supporting resilient infrastructure, narrowing the digital divide in safe internet access and contributing to the peace and stability of cyberspace – the subject of the recent UN Open Ended Working Group and Group of Governmental Experts processes.

Key Takeaways (* deadline 2 hours after session)

Online portals can help with three things: research; dissemination of information; and training capacity builders. Users of portals can help by letting portals know when they spot content that could be improved or if they have suggestions and researchers should reference the portals they use in their published articles.

There was strong appreciation for the good coordination between online portals that have been helpful for some sites in doing their work and avoiding duplication. To strengthen the cooperative network among portals, recommendations include: convening a meeting of portal teams in 2022, joint communications by portals (e.g. newsletter), and adding a page on all portals to signpost other relevant portals (with links).

Call to Action (* deadline 2 hours after session)

To portal users and potential users, please support the portals, let us know how we can improve or if you have any suggestions, and reference portals in your work.

To portal owners/managers, let’s continue the conversation, you can show support for greater cooperation in the portal network, and identify and share good practices or stories with other portals.

Session Report (* deadline 26 October) - click on the ? symbol for instructions

1. Key Policy Questions and related issues

What lessons can the online portals used by international cyber capacity builders apply to support each other and their users?

2. Summary of Issues Discussed

Portal users in the Open Forum described how helpful the sites are with their research, with disseminating information, and will providing training and resources for international cyber capacity builders.

The portal managers identified that the portals are growing.  They are growing in terms of their number (e.g. the meeting heard from a new cyber information portal in Brazil run by the Igarapé Institute).  They are growing in terms of the number of users (e.g. the Cybil Portal's unique monthly users grew this year from 1,000 to 3,000 a month).  And they are growing in terms of the quality and quantity of their content (e.g. UNIDIR's Cyber Policy Portal and Cybil Portal both launched updated versions of their sites this year).

Some of the portal managers described how cooperation and information sharing between portals in the last year had helped their own sites.  For example, the Igarapé Institute said that they had talked with many of the other portal teams in the meeting for advice when they were setting up their new Brazilian Cybersecurity poral.

The meeting shared insights on the technical aspects of running a portal, from their cybersecurity to the use of APIs to enable more ways to use their content by others.

3. Key Takeaways

Online portals can help with three things: research; dissemination of information; and training and resources for capacity builders.

There was strong appreciation for the good coordination between online portals, which has helped them in their work and reduced the risk of duplication, with recommendations for strengthening this.

4. Policy Recommendations or Suggestions for the Way Forward

Recommendations for portal users and potential users: provide feedback to portals so they know how best to serve their users; and if you are producing research using information from the portals reference them as the source to spread awareness of how they can be used.

To portal owners/managers: add links to other portals on your site; and join a follow-up call between portal teams in 2022 to discuss opportunities such as joint communications.

5. Final Speakers

  • Moderator: Chris Painter, President of the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise (GFCE) Foundation
  • Stephanie Borg Psaila, Editor of the GIP Digital Watch observatory, DiploFoundation & Chair of the Cybil Steering Committee
  • Louise Marie Hurel - Digital Security Programme Lead, Igarapé Institute
  • Andraz Kastelic - Lead Cyber Stability Researcher, Security and Technology Programme, UNIDIR
  • Enrico Calandro - Co-Director, Cybersecurity Capacity Centre for Southern Africa