January 2011, Geneva, Switzerland – UNITAR’s Multilateral Diplomacy Programme (MDP), together with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), organises a High Level Panel discussion on cybersecurity and cybercrime at the Palais des Nations, Room XII, on 31 January 2012 from 15:00 to 17:30.

The panel aims to update members of the Permanent Missions accredited to the United Nations Office at Geneva on the current situation and challenges with regard to cybersecurity and cybercrime and to provide a platform to discuss options for global responses to these phenomena.

Cybercrime has become a major global issue of our time and has risen considerably and alarmingly in the recent years. Whilst the use of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the digitalisation of many of our daily activities have had many positive effects, such as enhanced productivity and an increased interconnectedness of people, they have also brought with them a number of less desirable impacts. Spyware and malware that circulate on the World Wide Web as well as related crimes such as identity theft, cracking, online fraud and intellectual property infringement pose considerable threats to states, international and intergovernmental organisations as well as the private sector and civil society.

Today’s modern societies heavily rely on ICTs in many extremely important and sensitive areas such as healthcare, emergency services, transportation and financial exchange networks. Because of this dependency and the complicated infrastructure of the internet, which makes it very difficult to track down criminals, computer crime has the potential to threaten the security and financial health of entire states. At the same time, a response to this form of trans-border crime can only be effective when coordinated at a global level, involving not only governments, but also international and intergovernmental organizations.

These increasingly serious challenges and threats will be addressed at the heart of the forthcoming High Level Panel event. The panel will be delivered jointly by UNITAR, ITU and UNODC, the leading international organisations in the field of advanced training, telecommunication, and international crime respectively. It will draw on the expertise of distinguished panelists including Dr. Hamadoun Touré, the Secretary-General of ITU, Mr. John Sandage, the Director of the Division for Treaty Affairs of UNODC and representatives from the Permanent Missions accredited to the UN Offices at Geneva, the private sector and the civil society. The event will be chaired by Dr. Carlos Lopes, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNITAR.

Please note that participation in the event is free but requires pre-registration at: www.unitar.org/event/cyber-panel. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us via email (mdp-elearning@unitar.org) or via phone (+41 22 917 8739).