KINGSTON, Jamaica -- The Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) of the Organization of American States (OAS) on Wednesday concluded a three-day visit to Kingston, Jamaica, as part of the technical assistance provided to that government for the development of a national cyber security strategy, through an initiative that will be coordinated by CICTE’s cyber security program together with the ministry of science, technology, energy, and mining of Jamaica.
This visit was led by OAS/CICTE cyber security specialists with the participation of members of the Commonwealth. Expert advice was given on various approaches that can be taken in the development and implementation of the national strategy, and participants were guided through working group sessions to formulate the main tenants of the strategy.
This three-day activity formed part of a larger offer of assistance aimed at helping Jamaica to develop its national cyber security strategy, and will continue with appropriate follow-up support to facilitate the expedient development and adoption of the strategy.
The OAS secretary general, José Miguel Insulza, said, “The OAS is very pleased to be able to provide support to the government of Jamaica for the development and implementation of a cyber security strategy, a critical area in the current global context, not only for the direct safety of persons, but also for the economic, technological and social development of our nations. The OAS has already supported in this task Colombia, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago, and we hope to continue providing this support to the other member states that require it.”
The Jamaican minister of state in the ministry of science technology energy and mining, Julian Robinson, said, “The government of Jamaica recognizes information and communications technology as being one of the most important enablers for the achievement of its vision of economic and social development. In our promotion of same, we remain mindful of the need to create a trusted environment whereby our people can feel confident in conducting their online and related activities.”
In this regard, the government has embarked on several cyber security initiatives, including strengthening the cybercrime legislation and establishing a cyber incident response team (CIRT).
“This initiative with the OAS/CICTE is therefore consistent with the government’s thrust towards strengthening our cyber security framework. We therefore look forward to working with the OAS/CICTE in the coming days on this critical element of the government’s overarching framework,” the minister added.
The OAS secretary for multidimensional security, Ambassador Adam Blackwell, said, “It is our privilege to be in a position to respond to the request of the government of Jamaica. The growing threat of cyber-attacks by determined and persistent cyber criminals has become a problem that no government can ignore.”
In the same vein, Blackwell indicated, “In this age of Internet connectivity and dependence, our priority should be in fostering economic growth and stability while creating an environment for the incubation and development of innovative businesses and a citizenry that engenders confidence while transacting their personal and business affairs online. As such, I look forward to the finalization of a product that can be modeled throughout this hemisphere.”
This was the first of several such activities planned for 2014, as the cyber security program has initiated discussions with other member states regarding the current state of development or implementation of their national cyber security strategies and to offer tailored technical assistance.
The OAS/CICTE cyber security program is the result of a decision by the OAS General Assembly to adopt a Comprehensive Inter-American Cyber Security Strategy in 2004. The Organization was mandated to develop the cyber security capabilities of its member states with a focus on establishing Computer Security and Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs); to raise awareness on the importance of cyber issues and the creation of a culture of cyber security; as well as to support the development of cyber security policy frameworks.
As such, as of 2013 the program has assisted 19 member states through working closely with the governments of the Americas to establish national CSIRTs. It has also helped three member states to develop and officially adopt comprehensive national cyber security strategies.