Ever-evolving Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) have revolutionised how we work over the past 20 years, resulting in profound global implications and scale-up of digital technologies. However, risks and challenges associated with improved access to ICTs and the growing of internet penetration are often underestimated. Therefore, cyber capacity building is crucial to promote cyber security across the globe.
Since the adoption of its Cybersecurity Strategy in 2013, the EU has been leading on international cyber capacity building and systematically linking these efforts with its development cooperation funds. Moreover, in 2017 there was a clear recognition at the EU level that cybersecurity should be considered a transversal issue in development cooperation that can contribute to the realisation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as stipulated in the EU's Digital4Development policy framework. In the cybersecurity sector, the desired impact/overall objective is to provide the citizens of developing countries an open, free, secure, resilient and peaceful cyberspace. Reference to this can be found as a target under SDG 9 "Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation", as well as under SDG 4 "Quality education", SDG 8 "Decent work and economic growth", SDG 16 "Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions".
The significance of efforts to build national resilience in third countries as a means of increasing the level of cybersecurity globally, with positive consequences for the EU, was also recognised in the 2017 Joint Communication on "Resilience, deterrence and defence: Building strong cybersecurity for the EU".
EU interventions in this field strengthen the legislative, institutional and civil society capacities for promoting cyber security, cyber hygiene and awareness. They also help to develop new mechanisms for effective information sharing, consultation and coordination on cyber incidents.
The outcomes of these interventions include the adoption and implementation of a coherent, holistic and actionable national approach to cyber resilience; the operationalisation of cyber crisis management structures; increased trust of users, organisations, and companies in the use of cyberspace; as well as the alignment of legislation on cybercrime and electronic evidence with international standards.
The desired long-term impact is that citizens of developing countries enjoy an open, free, secure, resilient and peaceful cyberspace.
EU Strategic Priorities
In order to leverage the threats and challenges related to cybersecurity, EU action is structured around the following strategic priorities, as defined in the Joint Communication:
- Promoting legislative reforms and strengthening the capacity of decision-makers to design and implement cyber laws and policies in line with the Budapest Convention and human rights conventions
- Supporting an overarching strategic framework and strengthening institutional capacity to address cyber risks in a holistic way, including in public service delivery;
- Developing education, professional training and expertise in this field and improving cyber hygiene and awareness of individual users;
- Enhancing mechanisms for effective information sharing, consultation and coordination on cyber incidents between stakeholders (private sector, civil society and government bodies).
Policy and Strategic Documents
- Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) (2021)
- GAP III objectives and indicators (SWD2020 - 284 final)
- EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024
- 2018 discussion paper “Digital4Development: Mainstreaming digital technologies into EU support to quality education”
- "Resilience, deterrence and defence: Building strong cybersecurity for the EU" (2017)
- 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2015)
- Cybersecurity Strategy (2013)
- Budapest Convention
- Human rights convention
- Communication: Shaping Europe’s digital future (2020)
- Operational Guidance for the EU’s international cooperation on cyber capacity building (2018)
For further information and/or to provide feedback please contact us at INTPA-EU-RESULTS@ec.europa.eu