IGF 2021 WS #119 The Next Chapter of UN Cyber Dialogues

Friday, 10th December, 2021 (10:15 UTC) - Friday, 10th December, 2021 (11:45 UTC)
Conference Room 6

Organizer 1: John Hering, Microsoft
Organizer 2: Samir Saran, Observer Research Foundation

Speaker 1: Henri Verdier, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Giacomo Persi Paoli, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization
Speaker 3: Gerardo Isaac Morales Tenorio, Government, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 4: PABLO CASTRO, Government, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 5: Nathalie Jaarsma, Government, Intergovernmental Organization


Kaja Ciglic, Private Sector, Eastern European Group

Online Moderator

John Hering, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


John Hering, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Panel - Auditorium - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

Roles and responsibilities in protecting against cyber-attacks: Which stakeholders hold responsibility for protecting national governments, businesses and citizens against cyber-attacks?
International rules and state accountability: How should international rules be strengthened to protect national sovereignty and citizens against attack by malicious state and non-state actors? What can be done to better hold nation-states accountable for cyber-attacks?

Matters of peace and security in cyberspace, like those in the physical domains, require leadership and dialogue by governments in multilateral forums like the United Nations (UN). However, the unique nature of the digital domain, which exists without clear borders, underpins so much of human activity today, and is largely owned and operated by the private sector, requires also robust engagement and exchange with a multistakeholder community in order to be protected. New proposed models for dialogue on this issue at the UN and beyond have the potential to be more inclusive and change how we think about securing this new domain of human activity. This workshop will hope to highlight and present these different models through expert speakers, and support a robust discussion on them with the IGF community in attendance.



Targets: Truly, a secure and stable cyberspace underpins nearly every one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This session in particular will focus on elements of SDG 16 having to do with "effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels," as cybersecurity dialogues at the UN must strive to meet each of these measures.



Since 2004, the United Nations has facilitated multilateral dialogue on expectations for responsible behavior in cyberspace through successive iterations of a Group of Governmental Experts (GGE). The consensus reports produced by these bodies and adopted by the UN General Assembly – in particular the 2011, 2013, and 2015 reports – recognized the applicability of international law in cyberspace and 11 specific norms for responsible state behavior online. However, in recent years these ad-hoc working groups have made limited progress in establishing additional expectations and new models have been proposed for facilitating these dialogues moving forward and implementing the norms and principles set by the GGEs. This session will explore the potential and viability of different approaches to build on the work of the GGEs and uphold a rules-based order online – including the subsequent iterations of the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) on information security, as well as the French-proposed Programme of Action. Expert leaders from across stakeholder groups will discuss how these different approaches might promote accountability and the development of new norms in cyberspace, and facilitate greater multistakeholder inclusion and more regular institutional dialogue on the topic.

Expected Outcomes

The workshop will seek to raise awareness among the IGF’s multistakeholder community on how discussions of peace and security online at the United Nations are evolving and building on the legacy of the GGE processes. This will include a heavy focus on how the multistakeholder community can make their voices heard in these various dialogue structures, ensuring that those in attendance leave feeling encouraged and equipped with concrete guidance on how to engage with these processes moving forward. In particular, this will help support engagement with the second Open Ended Working Group dialogue that is set to resume later this year In addition, while structured as a panel discussion, a majority of the workshop will be a structured Q&A with those in attendance, ensuring that the high-level panelists – who are responsible for supporting and/or participating in the UN cybersecurity dialogues – will have the benefit of the insights and concerns raised by the IGF community. In this way, the workshop will seek to provide a valuable resource to both the speakers and those in attendance, as well as to the broader international discussion of expectations for responsible state behavior in cyberspace.

The 90-minute panel will allow for opening remarks and a brief moderated discussion with the speakers at the outset, to ensure participants are aware of the various models put forward for cybersecurity dialogues at the United Nations and how non-governmental perspectives might be included in each. The majority of the session then seek to directly include participants via an open Q&A format. We will seek to ensure that all speakers are present at IGF 2021 for an in-person exchange during the workshop, while being mindful to include the voices and opinions of online participants via coordination between the on-site and online moderators during the session. Workshop timing: 00:00 – 00:15 Introductions and opening remarks about proposed new formats for cybersecurity dialogues at the UN and beyond 00:15 – 00:40 Moderated panel discussion about the different dialogue models, their objectives, and how they might include multistakeholder participation 00:40 – 01:25 Open Q&A on the different models with those in attendance in-person and virtually 01:25 – 01:30 Closing and summary of major areas of concern/consensus

Online Participation


Usage of IGF Official Tool.


Key Takeaways (* deadline 2 hours after session)

Implementation efforts for cyber norms are of paramount importance and will be supported by confidence building measures, clarity in international law and its application online, and states living up to their due diligence obligations to stop malicious behavior. IGF may need to have an expanded role in facilitating either implementation or multistakeholder inclusion in cyber dialogues at UN.

• Different forums, at the UN and beyond, need to have distinct roles, but multiple dialogues is not necessarily a bad thing. Indeed, the multiple UN processes from 2019-2021 seemed to reinforce one another, resulting in twin consensus reports. There is also a need to focus on the multilateral character, and multistakeholder inclusion, in cyber dialogues at the UN and to build from the foundation of the existing international cyber Aquis.

Call to Action (* deadline 2 hours after session)

The multistakeholder community should take advantage of the upcoming opportunities, beginning next week (Dec 16), to contribute to and participate in the new Open Ended Working group dialogues on cybersecurity.