Today’s world could not function without information and communication technologies (ICTs) and for many of us they are at the heart of modern life. Little wonder, then, that cyber/ICT security issues are increasingly recognized as one of the main points of discussion on international security and stability in the 21st century.
The OSCE has an important role to play, particularly as by building confidence among participating States the risk of conflict can be reduced and cyber/ICT security enhanced in the entire region. This is especially relevant in this area where the potential for misperception and escalation remains a growing concern.
Efforts to build confidence are important because they can prevent misunderstandings and stop an attack potentially escalating worldwide. They are like pressure valves, allowing a safe release of tensions.
The participating States, on 3 December 2013, adopted an initial set of OSCE Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs) to Reduce the Risks of Conflict Stemming from the Use of Information and Communication Technologies. Overall it focuses on a number of transparency measures and enables voluntary exchanges of information and communication among states on several levels, from the practitioner to the policy-making and national security level.
The agreement on these confidence-building measures is indeed a viable breakthrough achievement.
Throughout 2014 the participating States will pursue the implementation of this initial set and consider adopting additional measures, all of which will contribute to reducing the risks of misperception, escalation, and conflict among states.