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LONDON, England — Commonwealth ICT Ministers have adopted a Commonwealth cybergovernance model to guide national policy development of their national cyberspace.

Representing over 35 Commonwealth countries, ICT ministers and their advisors met in London on 3 – 4 March 2014, at the first of what is expected to be a series of biennial ICT ministerial meetings.

The agreed model builds on the values and aspirations expressed in the Commonwealth Charter, including democracy, sustainable development, human rights, and the rule of law.

Guiding principles within the model include:

• contributing to a safe and effective cyberspace;
• supporting broader economic and social development;
• acting individually and collectively to tackle cybercrime; and
• exercising rights and meeting responsibilities in cyberspace.

These principles are intended “to guide Commonwealth members to plan and implement practical actions in policy development, regulation and legislation, cross-border collaboration, capacity building, technical measures and other operational activities,” the model says in its introduction.

Ministers noted that while the principles are important, there is an urgent need to address how these principles will be implemented.

Speaking at the closing of the event, which was held at Marlborough House in London, Tim Newman, acting director at the Commonwealth Secretariat, welcomed “the very rich discussion of some of the key issues facing Commonwealth members in the field of ICTs”.

“We look forward to working collaboratively with the CTO in order to clearly define our areas of comparative advantage and to ensure that the needs of all our member countries are responded to in the most effective way,” Newman added.

Professor Tim Unwin, secretary-general of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), co-host of the event, welcomed the overwhelming support offered by members for the new initiative.

“The CTO is deeply honoured to have been involved in helping to shape this very important framework. It was a remarkable achievement that working together we were able to reach agreement on these very important principles. Now we all need urgently to work together collaboratively and supportively to turn these principles into real practical actions.” he said.

At the meeting, ministers also agreed to action on the Commonwealth plan for broadband inclusion, a strategy for advancing broadband across the 53-country membership, ICTs and disability and ICTs in education. They also noted that Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Perth (2011) and Colombo (2013) had endorsed the Commonwealth cybercrime initiative.

Copies of the approved model will be available for download on the CTO website (www.cto.int)

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