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Minister of Public Administration Boštjan Koritnik attended the World Summit on the Information Society 2021 (WSIS Forum)

On Tuesday, 23 March 2021, the Minister of Public Administration Boštjan Koritnik attended the World Summit on the Information Society 2021 (WSIS Forum), hosted by: The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the United Nations Software Developer (UNDP).

minister sitting at the computer

Minister of Public Administration Boštjan Koritnik participated the WSIS Forum 2021 | Author Ministry of Public Administration

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The World Summit on the Information Society is the largest global event in the field of the impact of information and communication technology (ICT) on the development of society, attended by ministers from around the world, together with companies, organisations, institutes and other stakeholders. The meeting takes place remotely in the form of a number of panels between 22 and 26 March 2021.

The purpose of the event is to provide a forum for discussion between different stakeholders on the role of ICT in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, an evaluation of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the World Summit of Action Plan on the Information Society.

Cyber security is crucial to ensuring universal, reliable and equitable access to connectivity. While the use of ICT enables better governance and higher productivity, the use of digital systems creates risks. Cyber threats and cyber-attacks pose increasing security challenges for the public and private sectors in all countries. Strengthening the confidence framework, including information and network security, authentication, privacy and consumer protection, is a prerequisite for the development of the information society and for building trust among ICT users. Developing a global culture of cybersecurity in cooperation with all stakeholders and international professional bodies, and taking into account the level of social and economic development of each country, is essential to ensure data security and privacy and to improve access to them.

Minister of Public Administration Boštjan Koritnik participated the High-Level Policy Session 5: Building Confidence and Security in the use of ICTs. In the context of Slovenia’s preparations for the EU Council Presidency in the second half of this year, Minister Koritnik answered the question on cyber security and critical information infrastructure protection at EU level.

At the outset, he said that the pandemic had accelerated digitisation and revealed the shortcomings and risks of digital infrastructure, and pointed out that democracy and human rights depend to a large extent on how well a country can protect itself against cyber attacks, “that is why cybersecurity is one of Slovenia’s main priorities during the second half of this year’s EU Council Presidency, as part of strengthening overall resilience.”

Objectives such as: Better harmonisation of minimum standards of cyber security across the Union, strengthening resilience to large-scale cyber security attacks, and better information exchange and trust between EU Member States and third countries, will be achieved by establishing a Joint Cyber Unit that will facilitate information exchange, coordinate cyber crisis management in various areas and bring together all interested stakeholders, Koritnik emphasised.

He added that these objectives could also be achieved through the revision of the Directive on Network and Information System Security, which would ensure a high level of cybersecurity standards, as well as the implementation of cyber diplomacy. “In this context, in addition to cooperation at EU level, Slovenia will strive to strengthen cooperation with third countries, in particular the Western Balkans region, where cyber capacity building will be the focus,” said Koritnik, adding that all these topics will also be discussed at the international conference on cybersecurity organised by Slovenia during the Presidency of the EU Council in September this year.

On the second question about Slovenia’s role in global international development in the field of cybersecurity, Minister Koritnik said that Slovenia, with a very long tradition of technical – operational capabilities in the field of cyber incident response, is a reliable international partner. “Our National Computer Security Incident Response Team currently chairs the EU Network for a total of 18 months of the trio Presidency. We have developed a policy and legal framework, established an organisational structure, involved in joint training and building the necessary capacities,“said Minister Koritnik, adding that this is an ongoing process that requires continuous cooperation at all levels, political commitment and close cooperation with others.”We will strive to ensure that the cyberspace is regulated, with full respect for existing international law, in particular the United Nations Charter, International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. As the country holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2021, we will certainly do everything we can to ensure a secure and efficient digital transformation of the Union," concluded Koritnik.

More information about the event at the ITU website