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Ninth Edition of the OAS Cybersecurity Symposium Held in The Bahamas

  October 27, 2023

The ninth edition of the Cybersecurity Symposium of the Organization of American States (OAS) took place October 18-19 in The Bahamas. During two days, more than 250 representatives from academia, international organizations, the public and private sectors of the Americas exchanged experiences, knowledge and best practices in cybersecurity.

Within the framework of the event, which was held in person for the first time since the beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic, the RICET conference (Regional Initiative for Education and Training in Cybersecurity) also took place, also organized jointly between the OAS and Florida International University (FIU).

With virtual and in-person participation, the OAS Cybersecurity Symposium focused on how to boost cybersecurity capabilities through analysis of cutting-edge topics, raising awareness of the latest threats, and sharing best practices among regional leaders and experts from the area.

During the two days, keynote presentations, conferences and panels of high interest were held, with a common thread: unified action and joint efforts are necessary to consolidate and strengthen the region's capacity in cybersecurity, with the purpose of more effectively confronting risks in cyberspace.

The Executive Secretary of CICTE, Alison August Treppel, said “we are certain that the knowledge shared during these days will be a catalyst for the creation of a safer cyberspace, in addition to playing a fundamental role as a multiplier of preventive and response actions against cyberattacks and new threats. In a context as dynamic as the current one, having the necessary human talent, tools and knowledge is essential to face the challenges of cybersecurity.” “We are especially grateful to the Government of The Bahamas, donors and panelists for making this momentous event possible,” she added.

The Minister of National Security of the Bahamas, Wayne R. Munroe, said “Cybersecurity is a borderless issue which impacts all of us in our daily lives. Because of this, it is essential that we involve the whole of society, so that the planning and management of the cybersecurity space engages all areas of expertise. Therefore, our approach to managing cybersecurity for our respective countries, necessarily involves adopting cross-discipline values, diverse resources and inclusion of people across the spectrum of society. This event promotes The Bahamas' commitment to collaborate with countries with shared values and goals to strengthen all of our cybersecurity postures collectively as stakeholders. In The Bahamas, we understand that cybersecurity is a critical enabler for securing the country's economic growth and development plans. Without the security of the cybersecurity infrastructure, we risk the stability of the banking sector and global trade exchanges, the national security of the country and the overall growth of private sector businesses. These realities, countered by the focus on the growth of digital transformation and a deepening of interdependence, further underpins the importance of this symposium for us all."

Senator Michael Halkitis, Minister of Economic Affairs of the Bahamas, said "Cybersecurity plays a pivotal role in our national strategy and is crucial for advancing our utilization of information and communications technology and managing cyber risks —particularly from an economic perspective. These discussions are part of a collaborative effort to deepen our insights into our national cybersecurity posture and cyber resilience — an area of significant interest to our Administration and its “Digital Transformation to Strengthen Competitiveness” project. Our citizens see first-hand how technology allows us to achieve a better future – it improves the public’s ability to access the Government and its essential services, drives education and capacity-building, and connects people worldwide. As such, digital transformation and its associated cybersecurity risks must be appropriately balanced with comprehensive national cybersecurity strategies and resilience plans to achieve our national security goals."

The OAS Cybersecurity Symposium was organized by the Cybersecurity Program of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) of the OAS, which has been working to strengthen cybersecurity capabilities in OAS member states for more than two decades, in collaboration with the Bahamas National Cyber Incident Response Center (CIRT).

Press contact: María Paula Lozano ([email protected])

Reference: E-071/23