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OAS and Jamaican Government Present Draft National Cyber Security Strategy

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Organization of American States (OAS) today concluded a two-day event in Jamaica held within the framework of the support provided by the Hemispheric Organization towards the development of the Caribbean country’s National Cyber Security Strategy, during which a draft of the document was presented and discussed publicly for the first time.

The OAS Cyber Security Program at the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE), in collaboration with the Jamaican Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (MSTEM), held on Monday, September 15th a validation workshop for the development and adoption of the Strategy. This workshop was followed by a technical training conducted with the support of experts from Microsoft under the framework of a cooperative agreement established with the OAS early this year. These activities took place in Kingston, Jamaica, and are part of a larger cyber security initiative that is financed by the governments of Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

On the first day of the event, the OAS and its counterparts in the Jamaican Government presented for the first time the National Strategy. Although it is still pending official approval and adoption by the Government of Jamaica, stakeholders in attendance had the chance to ask questions and make recommendations to the strategy and its adoption and implementation processes.

In addition, experts from the Commonwealth Secretariat Cyber Crime Initiative, the UKTI Defense and Security Organization, Microsoft, and the Oxford University Cyber Security Centre provided guidance and support on the implementation phases of national cyber security strategies. The draft Strategy outlines several areas of focus for the country, including technical capacity building, awareness raising, cyber incident response and legislative considerations. It also speaks to the development of a detailed implementation plan by the National Cyber Security Task Force.

This workshop continues work begun by OAS/CICTE in March 2014 on Jamaica’s Cyber Security Strategy. In the previous event, which convened stakeholders from more than twenty public and private entities in Jamaica, the OAS presented on the importance of cyber strategies, showcased a selection of strategies from around the world, and helped Jamaica define the pillars that would form the basis of its strategy. The OAS’ methodology on developing national cyber security strategies has been recognized and supported by the Governments of Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom as particularly effective in helping Member States enact comprehensive cyber policy.

Following the September mission, the strategy will undergo a final review process internal to the Government of Jamaica. After all relevant ministries and departments have had a chance to comment and provide feedback it will pass through a formal adoption process, ending with Cabinet approval.

OAS Secretary General, Jose Miguel Insulza, highlighted that the “OAS is wholeheartedly supporting the development of the National Cyber Security Strategy in Jamaica, and we hope that this effort could be adopted at the highest levels of the State soon”. In addition, Secretary General Insulza reiterated that once the Strategy is adopted, the real challenge will be the implementation process, where support from relevant national and international stakeholders will be required. The OAS Secretary General mentioned that the Organization is committed to continue supporting Jamaican efforts on cyber security issues, and he invited donor countries and the international community to increase their support to the OAS Program and to the government of Jamaica for protecting its cyberspace.

With reference to the development process of the strategy, MSTEM Minister of State Julian Robinson stated, “The success for implementing any strategy has a direct link with the availability of human and financial resources. Jamaica would not have been able to get this far in the process without the assistance of our partners. The commitment of OAS-CICTE to this process has not just been for the drafting of the Strategy but also to the implementation. We recognize that skills to combat cyber crime are limited but we are pleased to have accessibility to capacity building which is being offered by our partners.”

For his part, David Fitton, British High Commissioner to Jamaica said, “This cyber security workshop is an important initiative. I am pleased that the United Kingdom is helping by providing funding and sharing ideas and experience. It is very important that we work with our international partners as this is an issue which affects all of us.”

The Canadian High Commissioner in Jamaica, Robert Ready, said, “A secure cyberspace is key to national competitiveness,” while also highlighting that “Canada has committed $3.6 million in funding to the OAS to enhance national planning to support hemispheric cyber security efforts.”

The OAS/CICTE Cyber Security Program is the result of a decision by the General Assembly of the Organization of American States to adopt a Comprehensive Inter-American Cyber security Strategy in 2004. The Organization was charged to develop the cyber security capabilities of its Member States with a focus on establishing Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs) in Member States; raising awareness of the importance of cyber issues and creating a culture of cyber security; and supporting the development of cyber security policy frameworks.

To date, the Program has worked closely with 19 Member State governments to adopt and improve their national Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs). In addition to its recent work with Jamaica, the OAS has helped Colombia, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago to draft and adopt their national cyber security strategies. Almost 40 countries around the world have already adopted national cyber security strategies, five of which are in the OAS region. Aside from Jamaica and the aforementioned countries, the OAS has initiated the national strategy development process with Dominica, Bahamas, and Peru.

South Florida Caribbean News

The Team provides news and information for the Caribbean-American community in South Florida and beyond.

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