A safe and reliable cyberspace is one of the pillars of building trust in information and communication technologies (ICT), including the Internet, e-services, and ICT applications.
Building trust in cyberspace is crucial to further the information society in the Arab region and achieve overall socioeconomic development. The digital lives of people are ever-growing through the continuous development of new technologies. It is therefore imperative to safeguard communities against growing numbers of cyberattacks, while providing the regulatory means to protect individuals' rights so as to further build trust in technology and the digital society.
The initiative focused on the development and harmonization of cyberlegislation in Arab countries, and on building safe and secure cyberspaces. ESCWA prepared six directives on formulating cyberlaws for Arab countries, and held several capacity-building workshops at the regional and national levels. Furthermore, ESCWA provided many advisory services to member States to support them in drafting/reviewing their national cyberlaws.
Several regional organizations were part of the steering committee of this project, including the Leagues of Arab States, the Arab Administrative Development Organization (ARADO), the Arab ICT Organization (AICTO), and the International Telecommunication Union-Arab Regional Office (ITU-ARO).
ESCWA produced various publications and reports on cyber legislation, notably the ESCWA Cyber Legislation Directives (available in Arabic only) that include model laws covering the main six areas of cyber legislation:
- e-communication and freedom of expression,
- e-transactions and e-signatures,
- e-commerce and consumer protection,
- personal data protection,
- cybercrime, and
- intellectual property rights in cyberspace.
ESCWA also organized many expert group meetings and capacity-building workshops at the regional and national levels under its project entitled “Regional harmonization of cyber legislation to promote the knowledge society in the Arab region” and provided advisory services to 12 Arab countries. ESCWA also published a report that included a policy framework to enhance cybersecurity and build confidence in cyberspace, and organized capacity-building workshops and advisory services on this topic.