Declaration: Strengthening Cyber-Security in the Americas

Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
March 9, 2012

(Approved at the Fourth Plenary Session held on March 7, 2012)

THE MEMBER STATES OF THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMITTEE AGAINST TERRORISM (CICTE) OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES (OAS), meeting at the Twelfth Regular Session, in Washington, D.C., in the United States of America, on March 7, 2012,

REAFFIRMING the nature, principles and purposes of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) and reiterating their most vehement condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, whatever its origin or motivation in accordance with the principles of the OAS Charter and with the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism, and with full respect for the sovereignty of states, the rule of law, and international law, including international humanitarian law, international human rights law, and international refugee law;

RECOGNIZING that the threat of terrorism is exacerbated when connections exist between terrorism and illicit drug trafficking, illicit trafficking in arms, money laundering, and other forms of transnational organized crime, and that such illicit activities may be used to support and finance terrorist activities;

REAFIRMING all the Declarations adopted at the sessions of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism and Resolutions related to terrorism adopted by the General Assembly of the OAS;

ENDORSING the international counter-terrorism framework adopted by the United Nations through resolutions of the General Assembly and of the Security Council and the Global Counter- Terrorism Strategy;

EMPHASIZING the importance for the Member States of the OAS to sign, ratify, or accede to, as the case may be, and implement in an effective way the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism as well as the pertinent universal legal instruments, including the 18 related international conventions, protocols and amendment, resolutions 1267 (1999), 1373 (2001), 1540 (2004) and 1624 - 2 - (2005) and other pertinent UN Security Council resolutions, and the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy adopted by the UN General Assembly to fight terrorism; including to find, deny safe haven to, and bring to justice, on the basis of the principle of extradite or prosecute any person who supports, facilitates, participates, or attempts to participate in the financing, planning, preparation, or commission of terrorist acts or provides safe haven;)

RECALLING that the Declaration on Security in the Americas (Mexico, 2003) identified as salient among others new threats, terrorism and attacks to cybersecurity; and committed member states to develop a culture of cybersecurity in the Americas by taking effective preventive measures to anticipate, address, and respond to cyber attacks, whatever their origin, fighting against cyber threats and cybercrime, criminalizing attacks against cyberspace, protecting critical infrastructure and securing networked systems;

RECOGNIZING that fighting terrorism requires criminal justice systems that are respectful of human rights and fundamental freedoms and that ensure persons who plan, perpetrate or support terrorist acts are brought to justice;

UNDERSCORING their support to the victims of terrorism and their family members and expressing their solidarity with them as well as the importance of providing appropriate assistance pursuant to domestic norms;

RECALLING ALSO AG/RES. 1939 (XXXIII-O/03), "Development of an Inter-American Strategy to Combat Threats to Cybersecurity" and AG/RES. 2004 (XXXIV-O/04) “Adoption of a Comprehensive Inter-American Strategy to Combat Threats to Cybersecurity: A Multidimensional and Multidisciplinary Approach to Creating a Culture of Cybersecurity;”

BEARING IN MIND that the OAS Comprehensive Inter-American Strategy to Combat Threats to Cybersecurity outlines a multidimensional and multidisciplinary approach that establishes specific mandates for the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE), the Inter-American Telecommunications Commission (CITEL), and the Meeting of Ministers of Justice or of Ministers - 3 - or Attorneys General of the Americas (REMJA) and its Group of Governmental Experts on Cyber- crime;

NOTING WITH SATISFACTION the extensive work carried out since 2004 by the CICTE Secretariat to implement the aforementioned strategy and its Work Plan which includes the area of Protection of Critical Infrastructure and, within it, the Cybersecurity program;

REITERATING the importance of continuing to implement the OAS Comprehensive Inter- American Strategy to Combat Threats to Cybersecurity and the need to strengthen partnerships among all cyber-security stakeholders;

RECOGNIZING that the freedom of expression and the free flow of information exercised in accordance with international and regional human rights instruments are essential for the innovation and the functioning of the networks that sustain economic growth and social development;

RECOGNIZING ALSO that CICTE member states increasingly use information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure, networks, systems and related technologies, and integrated into the global Internet, and that this increases the potential impact on member states of cybersecurity threats and the exploitation of related vulnerabilities;

CONSIDERING, therefore, that properly developing cyber-security capabilities, frameworks, and (ICT) infrastructure are critical to regional, national, and individual security, and economic stability; and

AWARE of the need to continue strengthening the CICTE Secretariat in its supporting role to Member States and to enhance their capacity to cooperate to prevent, combat, and eliminate terrorism,


1. Their most vehement condemnation of terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, as they consider it criminal and unjustifiable under any circumstances, regardless of where and by whom it is committed, and because it constitutes a serious threat to international peace and security and to the democracy, stability, and prosperity of the countries of the region.

2. Their firmest commitment to prevent, combat, and eliminate terrorism through the broadest cooperation possible, in full respect for the sovereignty of the States and compliance with their obligations under national and international law, including international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and international refugee law.

3. Their commitment to adopt measures to strengthen international cooperation mechanisms, especially at the hemispheric level, including the application of extradition and mutual legal assistance, as well as the exchange of information, including financial information, in accordance with domestic law, in order to find, deny safe haven to, and bring to justice any person who supports, facilitates, participates, or attempts to participate in the financing, planning, preparation or commission of terrorists acts or provides safe haven.

4. Their appeal to the Member States that have not yet done so to sign, ratify, or accede to, as the case may be, and to implement in an effective way, the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism as well as the pertinent universal legal instruments and resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council.

5. Their renewed commitment to implement the OAS Comprehensive Inter-American Strategy to Combat Threats to Cybersecurity, adopted through resolution AG/RES. 2004 (XXXIV- O/04).

6. The need for all member states to continue their efforts to establish, and/or strengthen national cyber incident alert, watch, and warning groups, commonly referred to as Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs).

7. The of Member States’ participation in the OAS Secure Hemispheric Network of CSIRTs and other Cyber Security Authorities, as well as increasing information sharing and cooperation among Member States related to protecting their critical information infrastructure, and preventing and responding to cyber incidents.

8. The importance of enhancing the security and resilience of critical information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure against cyber threats, with a particular focus on critical governmental institutions as well as those sectors critical to national security, including energy, financial, transportation and telecommunications systems.

9. Their intention to continue developing comprehensive national cyber security strategies and to engage all relevant stakeholders and in their development and implementation.

10. The importance of promoting public sector cooperation with the private sector and academia in order to strengthen the security and protection of critical information and communications infrastructure.

11. To explore future opportunities to broaden CICTE’s efforts to protect critical information and communications infrastructure, including by implementing capacity-building programs to strengthen all critical components of the global supply chain.

12. To encourage member states to provide voluntary contributions to strengthen CICTE’s capacity to assist member states, upon request, in implementing the respective sections of the Strategy and of this Declaration.

13. To urge that the OAS Regular Fund contribute the necessary resources to provide the CICTE Secretariat with human and financial resources to ensure continuity in its endeavors and in the implementation of its mandates, programs, and activities contained in the CICTE Work Plan adopted at the Eleventh Regular Session.

14. To appeal to member states, permanent observers, and pertinent international agencies to provide, maintain, or increase, as appropriate, their voluntary financial and/or human resource contributions to CICTE, to facilitate the performance of its functions and promote enhancement of its programs and the scope of its work.

15. Their commitment to implement this Declaration and the CICTE Work Plan, which includes its work areas of border controls, legislative assistance and combating terrorism financing, critical infrastructure protection, strengthening strategies on emerging terrorist threats, and international coordination and cooperation, adopted at the Twelfth Regular Session of CICTE.