Cyberspace is vulnerable to risks that are both physical and as well from cyber threats and hazards. Theft of information and money along with the disruption or destruction that threaten the delivery of essential services by sophisticated cyber actors and nation-states are very real. That’s why it’s important for the Government to develop strategies and policies to mitigate the dangers associated with cyber security. The National Security Council Secretariat in collaboration with Global Digital Partners and the Organization of American States is hosting a two day workshop for civil society to empower NGO’s and civil society organizations to become a part of the strategy development process. The Deputy Coordinator for the NSCS Nicole Haylock and the representative for Global Partners Digital, Daniela Schnidrig explained what they hoped to accomplished over the two days.
Nicole Haylock Deputy Coordinator for National Security Council Secretariat: “Belize is working on its first national cybersecurity strategy and one of the values that we would like to incorporate is the engagement of civil society so we are empowering the civil society with the objective as well to contribute to the development of that strategy. We want the strategy to be people focus and we want all the stakeholders, the people who are affected and everyone is affected by cyber security to contribute to building that strategy.
Jose Sanchez: “Are we talking about company security of information? Are you talking about data that you have on your phones or your computers specifically? What is it?”
Nicole Haylock Deputy Coordinator for National Security Council Secretariat: “Okay there are many layers to cyber security as you alluded to, several aspects of it but for this workshop we want to hear from civil society about what affects your daily movement? What affects the communities and the stakeholders that they serve? And we also want to empower them on how to deal with cyber security issues. We want them to learn about the mechanics that are in place locally so that they can access support and help if they have issues relating to cyber security in their communities and within their organizations.”
Daniela Scnidrig Representative, Global Partners Digital: “We work specifically with non governmental stakeholders so civil society groups, NGOs, academia and so we work with them to increase their knowledge on cyber security issues. There may be groups that do advocacy on human rights and have more traditional agendas for example that you know they haven’t really been involved in cyber security that much. Our aim is to work with them and to empower them to be able to include cyber security as a priority in their work and to encourage them to engage in these conversations so you don’t have to be a cyber security specialist to engage in these conversations. There are different actors that have different roles, they can bring different perspectives to the table so what we want to do is we want to work with these non governmental stakeholders to be able to empower them and give them resources to engage in these cyber security processes so we can bring their perspective. At the end you get a policy outcome that is informed by those views, that you know it has more expertise in the development, that there is also more legitimacy and buy in and when you implement that policy because then there is that sort of commitment from the stakeholders that participated in creating that policy so it easier then so you know the implementation is more smooth.”
There was participation from non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, the elderly, youth and women organizations.