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OAS and Cisco Conclude Second Meeting of the Cybersecurity Innovation Councils

  February 17, 2023

The Organization of American States (OAS) and Cisco held this week the second Regional Meeting of the Cybersecurity Innovations Councils (CICs), in which leaders from the public and private sectors, civil society and academia from the Americas discussed the promotion of innovation, awareness raising among citizens and dissemination of best practices in cybersecurity.

The two-day meeting, held at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC, consisted of a series of panels and keynote talks where experts discussed the state of cybersecurity in the region and how to work collaboratively to improve the capacities of member states in terms of cybersecurity. Representatives from the private sector and the implementation community, shared their experiences with the aim of finding synergies among multiple stakeholders to help countries prevent, respond to, and recover from cyberattacks.

In addition, the new initiatives that will be created under the framework of the CICs were announced: an innovation laboratory, an applied research workshop and a governance and artificial intelligence course. During the meeting, the community of experts gathered in a creative thinking workshop suggested that initiatives such as the CICs strengthens capacities of the entire cybersecurity ecosystem, promotes trust as well as research and development in the Latin American and Caribbean region. They also proposed that the CICs emphasize the secure adoption of emerging technologies that contribute to the digital transformation of organizations and in particular address issues such as security by design and by default. Finally, it was highlighted that there is the need to prioritize initiatives that contribute to digital transformation, where cybersecurity issues are relevant such as artificial intelligence, big data, cloud, 5G and quantum computing would be analyzed in virtual and physical workshops.

The OAS Secretary for Multidimensional Security, Luis Fernando Lima Oliveira, said at the opening of the event that “building cyber resilience is essential for the countries of the region to protect themselves against increasingly sophisticated threats. The attacks that the region has suffered in recent months show that cybercriminals work in an orchestrated manner, launching similar attacks in different countries almost simultaneously. Faced with this, there is no other solution than to work collaboratively. Initiatives such as the Cybersecurity Innovation Councils, which promote alliances between the public and private sectors, civil society and academia, have become increasingly relevant to improve the capacities of countries in cybersecurity.”

Also participating in the inaugural event were Laercio Alburquerque, Vice President of Cisco Latin America, and Jennifer Bachus, Principal Deputy Asistant Secretary of the Office of Digital Policy and Cyberspace of the United States Department of State, among others.

The Cybersecurity Innovation Councils are an initiative of the OAS and Cisco that aims to advance the cybersecurity political agenda of the OAS member states. For this, a space is created where the parties involved, leaders and experts from the private sector, public sector, academia, NGOs and security technology providers collaborate to promote innovation, raise awareness and expand best practices, with the aim of helping to solve the digital risks and challenges that affect the digital society. The OAS and Cisco, together with the governments of the region, seek to develop greater knowledge of threats and improve cybersecurity in the Americas.

So far, the CICs have held national and regional meetings in Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Costa Rica, with the participation of more than 300 people. In addition, the OAS and Cisco created a basket fund endowed so far with 200,000 dollars for which 11 projects from five countries have already been selected, among the more than one hundred proposals received. Finally, the CICs work on capacity building through the OAS-Cisco Academy, which has already trained more than 5,000 people online from 20 countries.

Reference: E-007/23