Estonia shares cyber know-how with UN member states in Geneva

Heli Tiirmaa-Klaar in Politico's top 28 list.
Heli Tiirmaa-Klaar in Politico's top 28 list. Source: Screenshot

On Friday, a cyber-diplomacy seminar organized by the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be held in Geneva, targeting representatives of UN member states and various international organizations in Geneva and focusing on the validity of existing international law and the implementation of standards of responsible conduct in cyberspace.

Heli Tiirmaa-Klaar, the Estonian ambassador at large for cyber security, said that in a situation where cyber-diplomacy is becoming a nearly integral part of foreign and security policy, it is essential to explain developments in the field as well as hold international discussions to the widest possible audience. Many foreign ministries have created or are in the process of creating units and positions dealing with cyber-diplomacy, but countries have very different levels of cyber-related knowledge and experience.

"Representatives of more than 80 countries have gathered at today's seminar at the UN headquarters in Geneva, with a particularly high number of African, Asian and Latin American diplomats present. It shows the interest of states in cyber-diplomacy issues – including the validity of international law in cyberspace, the implementation of cyber-standards and trust measures and the improvement of opportunities for cybersecurity-related development cooperation," Tiirmaa-Klaar said. "Today's event will help us strengthen Estonia's global image as a leader in cyber issues and help achieve Estonia's goals in the UN Security Council," she added.

Speakers include international cyber-diplomacy experts and representatives from international organizations and leading academic institutions, including the European Council, the World Economic Forum, the Geneva Center for Security Policy, the International Red Cross and the Hague Center for Strategic Studies. The perspective of regional organizations – the European Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Organization of American States (OAS) – will be discussed by representatives of the EU, Singapore and Uruguay. Speakers also include Estonian cyber experts from the Information System Authority (RIA).

The seminar is organized by the cyber-diplomacy department of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Estonian representation to the UN and other international organizations in Geneva. The organization of the event is also supported by the Geneva representations of Uruguay and Singapore. The seminar is held ahead of the second meeting of the UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE), which is to convene on February 24-28 in Geneva and where Estonia will be represented by Heli Tiirmaa-Klaar, the Estonian ambassador at large for cyber security.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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