Capacity Building Workshop on Promoting a Safer Cyberspace in the Arab Region Skip to main content

Capacity Building Workshop on Promoting a Safer Cyberspace in the Arab Region

Musqat, Oman

This workshop was jointly organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA), the ITU Regional Cybersecurity Center (ITU-RCC) and the Information Technology Authority in Oman, from 8 to 9 December 2014 in Muscat. Legal and procedural measures to combat cybercrime and improve cyber-safety in the Arab region were explored during this workshop.

The goals of this workshop were to build the capacity of decision makers in governments and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the Arab region on the procedural frameworks for implementing cybercrime law, combating cybercrime and enhancing cyber-safety in the Arab region. It also aimed to discuss new challenges in cybercrime resulting from emerging technologies, and to exchange ideas, knowledge and good practices on issues related to cybercrime and cyber-safety, including child-online-safety and cyber-threats against women. More than 80 men and women, representing governments, International Organizations and NGOs, from 14 Arab countries participated in the Workshop.

The Workshop was opened by opening speech from both Mr. Badar Al Salehi, Head of ITU Regional Cyber Security Center and Ms. Nibal Idlebi, Chief of the Innovation Section at UN-ESCWA. In his speech, Mr. Al Salhi mentioned the negative impact of cybercrime on economy, social life as well as on various sectors such as energy, financial, transport and services. He also summarized the role of the ITU-Regional Cybersecurity Center in improving the cybersecurity in the Arab region and highlighted its main services to the Arab countries.

Ms. Idlebi highlighted the objectives of the Workshop and summarized ESCWA efforts for building trust and confidence in Information Society since 2007. She also mentioned the latest changes in the mandate of the Technology for Development division at ESCWA as it will focus now on innovation, technology for development, knowledge based economy in addition to Information Society and ICT for Development.

The Workshop included five sessions, each focussed on a specific aspect of legal and regulatory framework. The sessions spotlight on cybercrime frameworks for enhancing cybersafety, national case studies on the legal system for cybercrime, technological aspects of cybercrime, national CERTs and the promotion of cybersafety and regional initiatives for improving cybersafety in the Arab region.

During the first session Mr. Wassim Hajjar, the ESCWA consultant, presented a regional framework for enhancing cybersafety in the Arab region that is proposed by ESCWA in its recent study titled “Policy recommendations on cybercrime and cybersafety for the Arab region”. The participants of the workshop discussed the proposed framework and provided some suggestions which will be taken into consideration during the preparation of the final draft of the study. This study should be published during the first quarter of 2015.

In the other sessions the speakers highlighted areas of importance for enhancing cybersafety and facing cybercrimes in the Arab region. These areas included: the need for laws related to intellectual property rights, privacy and combating cybercrime; the importance of awareness raising campaign for all individuals and the need for planning training programmes for investigator, lawyers and judges. The presentation also discussed the importance of regional initiatives for strengthening the regional and international collaboration, exchanging best practices and for exchanging reliable information about specific crimes that are needed for investigation. Other speakers presented the prominent role of the Internet Service Provider (ISP) in cybersafety and in the provision of appropriate data to official investigators, and the role of private sector in developing appropriate solutions for improving cybersafety at national level. The new forms of cybercrimes that are brought on by emerging technologies specifically social media and cloud computing, and the urgent need to ensure the safety of children online were also elaborated.

The workshop concluded with a number of recommendations that were identified during the two days workshop.