The big story, of course, is the new resolution on a UN convention on cybercrime (A/RES/74/247
). This was adopted by the General Assembly (UNGA) in December—albeit later than anticipated, and with less support than its previous iterations. Following timeworn geopolitical dynamics, the resolution was backed by states with a ”sovereigntist” view of cyberspace, and opposed by those with a more liberal, internationalist perspective.
Now that the resolution has passed, the UNGA will set up an ad-hoc intergovernmental working group to draft the convention on cybercrime. As we highlighted in a joint civil society letter
ahead of the resolution vote, we’re concerned that it could lead to restrictions on freedom of expression and privacy.
So far, all we know about the drafting process is that the first meeting will take place in New York, and this meeting will decide the modalities. It’s currently unclear what (if any) opportunities for non-government stakeholder engagement will exist. Alongside other NGOs, we’ll be keeping a close eye on what happens. Stay tuned for updates...
Moving over to the UN First Committee, the big focus at GPD is on the upcoming February Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) session
in New York.
What do we know about the session? First, it will build on the agenda and discussions from the previous OEWG meeting in September 2019—summarised here
by the Chair, along with some guiding questions for participants. We also know that the outcomes of the December multistakeholder intersessional (which we attended
along with other NGOs) will be presented by the OEWG Chair, Jurg Lauber—but it’s not yet clear whether we’ll get a look beforehand.
A very short accreditation window was open to “all interested stakeholders”. Important caveat for those who applied: this doesn’t guarantee entry. It’s possible that, as with the September 2019 session, all non-ECOSOC NGOs could again be barred from participating. For those who can’t make it, the meeting will be streamed on UN WebTV.
Finally, a few updates on the parallel process at the First Committee: the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE).