1 September 2023 (New York, USA) – The sixth negotiating session of the Ad Hoc Committee (AHC) to elaborate the United Nations (UN) cybercrime convention took place at the UN in New York from 21 August to 1 September. This session marked in-depth negotiations on the draft convention, with the aim to adopt a focused criminal justice instrument that advances international cooperation to fight cybercrime, while respecting human rights.
Throughout the AHC negotiations, diverse stakeholders, including NGOs, the private sector, academia, and other organizations have been actively engaged demonstrating remarkable unity and consistency. To further elaborate some of the views and concerns by stakeholders, a side-event on ‘Multistakeholder perspectives on developments at the 6th session of the AHC,’ was held on 29 August, co-organized by UNODC‘s Civil Society Unit (CSU), the Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, International Chamber of Commerce, Cyberpeace Institute, Access Now, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime and Epicenter Works. The event offered a platform for stakeholders to voice their primary concerns and present their latest perspectives within the context of significant negotiations on content, scope and definitions under the new convention.
The event, hosted by Microsoft at their offices in New York, was opened by Mirella Dummar Frahi, Chief of the UNODC CSU and Nemanja Malisevic, Digital Diplomacy Director at Microsoft. Malisevic outlined that the event offers the chance to actively engage in these processes while also bearing the responsibility of participating in productive and meaningful discussions among peers. Highlighting the significance of multistakeholder expertise, Barry Fullerton, Counselor for UN Affairs at the U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna, emphasized the importance of their participation and meaningful contributions. He encouraged attendees not to be discouraged, to remain united, and to continue taking an active role in the discussions.
Under the moderation of Anders Frantzen (CSU), the event gathered attention from a diverse audience of over 100 participants. Timea Suto from International Chamber of Commerce emphasized that the primary goal for global businesses is to enhance international cooperation in combating cybercrime. The focus is on advocating for a functional criminal justice instrument that effectively mitigates criminal activities and facilitating the implementation of measures against cybercrime. Moreover, Tanja Fachathaler representing Epicenter Works (a digital rights organization), stressed the importance of not overlooking human rights within the framework of the convention. Finally, Raman Jit Singh Chima from Access Now emphasized the significance of data protection, underscoring that the existing measures are not comprehensive enough. He highlighted the need for further enhancements in this regard.
The event reached its objective in providing a platform for key AHC stakeholders and state representatives to evaluate the significance of multistakeholder contributions made to the negotiations up to that point. It aimed to explore ways to sustain the open and inclusive nature of the AHC's modalities, ensuring ongoing opportunities for meaningful engagement. In conclusion, Ian Tennant, Chair of the Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice expressed gratitude for the transparent engagement process established by the Ad Hoc Committee so far and encouraged delegates to maintain their receptiveness to civil society's input in the treaty discussions, highlighting the vital role of human rights safeguards in guaranteeing a functional and impactful treaty. Governments, industry representatives, and civil society must join forces to combat cybercrime and this is the purpose of the ongoing discussion of the 6th session of Ad Hoc Committee on cybercrime.