Assistant Secretary General Speech


March 29, 2016 - Washington, DC

Mr. Oscar Messano, Vice President of LACNIC and President of CCATT-LAT
Mr. Vincent Cerf, Google Vice President

Distinguished delegates and guests.

Today’s activity is of key importance to the OAS and its Cybersecurity Program. Freedom of Speech on the internet is a right that should be a given to every citizen of the hemisphere. Over the next four days, you will get insights from renowned experts on internet governance, freedom of expression, and cybersecurity. It is refreshing to have representatives of the public and private sectors, as well as academia, in the same room for a common goal.

These types of activities perfectly align with the main goals of the OAS Cybersecurity Program. Our Cybersecurity program strongly focuses on engaging with Civil Society and the Private Sector as well as Academia.

We realize that cyber security goes much, much further than what a government does; everyone must be aware of what end users, business community, schools… are doing. Therefore, we need to reach out to more than just governments. Cyber threats do not recognize national borders; therefore, a multilateral and multidimensional effort is required to address the range of cyber threats. Indeed, important progress is being made.

The OAS has been working with Member States on cybersecurity for more than a decade, which is longer than any other international or regional organization.
In 2004, Member States adopted the Comprehensive Inter-American Cyber Security Strategy, which mandated the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism, or CICTE, to engage Member States on cyber issues. This strategy called on CICTE to ensure that countries have the ability to detect, respond to, and prevent cyber incidents.

CICTE has met this mandate through a multifaceted program that addresses technical capabilities, government policy, and awareness-raising.

For example; just this month the OAS and IDB published a holistic study on cybersecurity capabilities of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean entitled Cybersecurity: Are We Ready in Latin America and the Caribbean?

Today, we find ourselves at an important juncture in how the Internet is governed. Over the next several years, many standard and protocol-setting functions for the Internet will be transferred from a single entity to the wider multi-stakeholder community. This stewardship transition has an opportunity to lead to policies that better reflect the diversity and needs of the international Internet community; however, with this develop comes great responsibility.

Working together, we must ensure that our policies promote secure networks, ensure reliability and accessibility and continue to protect freedom of expression on the Web. For future generations, it is crucial that the Internet remain free and open to all.

This 2016 South School on Internet Governance is a fantastic opportunity to develop new leaders from across our region. Over the next few days, you will work collaboratively to address relevant problems and build knowledge about the complexity, and importance, of Internet-governance issues. To the 2016 Fellows, I welcome you on behalf of the OAS, and wish you an enlightening and fulfilling experience. The Internet community of Latin America and the Caribbean will depend on your knowledge, expertise and leadership.

Thank you to Canada for their contribution making this and other activities possible. Your generous contributions fuel this program’s activities, as well as many others.

Thank you to the High Technology Training Center for Latin America and the Caribbean and the South School of Internet Governance, Oscar Messano and his team for helping putting this event together.

It is a privilege for OAS to be part of the South School of Internet Governance. We believe in this program and its objective, which is to train new thought leaders in all aspects related to Internet Governance from a global perspective, with a focus on Latin America and the Caribbean.

Thank you everyone who is here today for making an effort to participate and congratulations to the ones of you that got a scholarship to participate. I hope you make the most of it and walk away with a new perspective from all the experts, who will share with you their expertise over the course of the next four days. I look forward to the next four days of interventions.