Cyber Capacity Building Addressed Through the 2013 Seoul Cyber Conference Process

October 26, 2013
Traders Look at Computer Monitors in Seoul

Last week, I joined government, private sector and civil society participants from over 80 countries at the 2013 Seoul Cyber Conference, which took place October 17-18 in Seoul, South Korea. One of the main themes of the conference was the importance of working together to meet our shared cyber challenges. As Secretary Kerry noted in his video remarks, “All of [us] are part of the important effort underway to make cyberspace more accessible and secure for all.  No one nation can carry this burden alone.”

The conference was the culmination of a long preparatory process which included pre-conference workshops that underscored the value of fostering a diverse community of stakeholders actively involved in shaping cyber policy -- a central tenant of the U.S. government strategy for cyber capacity building and main goal of the 2013 Seoul Conference.  We sponsored a U.S. workshop in Washington, D.C., inviting more than 30 members of industry and civil society to join government experts to share perspectives and generate ideas about how the private sector can contribute most effectively to cyber capacity building.

This event identified an initial community of interest on developing principles for international public-private collaboration on cyber capacity building.  Several distinguished guests provided keynotes to the group.  Participants then had the opportunity to reflect on how industry can serve as a resource for developing nations and on ways to make public-private collaboration easier and more effective by what one guest later termed “joining the community.”

I was pleased to be able to take the insights generated by the U.S. workshop with me to Seoul, where they were briefed in a pre-conference session and cited in the capacity building panel.

While in Seoul, the U.S. hosted representatives from Morocco, Tunisia, and Ghana for a breakfast discussion on cyber capacity building.  We learned about the distinct challenges these very different nations face, and agreed to stay in contact with them and a variety of partners as the United States moves forward on its cyber capacity building agenda.

I thank the Republic of Korea for both its vision and its exceptional execution of the 2013 event. I urge all of you reading here to take a moment to visit the main event website.  Read the brief from our preparatory workshop, watch the panel discussions in the media gallery, and review the outcome documents, including the Chair’s Summary and the Korean “Seoul Framework for and Commitments to an Open and Secure Cyberspace.” I believe that you, like I, can utilize this resource to learn more about how to give to, and receive from, the dynamic and innovative cyber community.

About the Author: Chris Painter serves as the Secretary of State's Coordinator for Cyber Issues.


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