Statement on Consensus Achieved by the UN Group of Governmental Experts On Cyber Issues

Press Statement
Jen Psaki
Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 7, 2013

The United States welcomes the achievement of landmark consensus of the UN Group of Governmental Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security during this week’s meetings in New York.

Through these discussions, the United States sought to achieve common understanding on cyber issues of critical national and international significance, particularly: the need to promote international stability, transparency, and confidence in cyberspace; that existing international law should guide state behavior with regard to the use of cyberspace; and how the international community can help build the cybersecurity capacity of less-developed states. Our delegation leaves New York confident that the Group made substantial progress on all of these issues.

The Group agreed that confidence-building measures, such as high-level communication and timely information sharing, can enhance trust and assurance among states and help reduce the risk of conflict by increasing predictability and reducing misperception. The Group agreed on the vital importance of capacity-building to enhance global cooperation in securing cyberspace. The Group reaffirmed the importance of an open and accessible cyberspace, as it enables economic and social development. And, the Group agreed that the combination of all these efforts support a more secure cyberspace.

Furthermore, the Group affirmed that international law, especially the UN Charter, applies in cyberspace.

All UN member states share a common commitment to the pursuit of peace. We are all parties to the UN Charter, which seeks to prevent war of all kinds. We also subscribe to the Geneva Conventions and the Law of Armed Conflict, which are aimed at minimizing civilian suffering when armed conflict occurs. These norms are a cornerstone of international relations and are particularly important for cyberspace, where state-on-state activities are becoming more prevalent.

The United States is pleased to join consensus to affirm the applicability of international law to cyberspace. With that clear affirmation, this consensus sends a strong signal: States must act in cyberspace under the established international rules and principles that have guided their actions for decades - in peacetime and during conflict.

The United States looks forward to the official issuance of the final report on these meetings and future dialogue on these issues with the international community.

PRN: 2013/0705