The water sector is a part of every country's critical infrastructure. With increasing digitization, the water sector is becoming more efficient, but also more vulnerable to cyber-attacks, particularly when faced with lack of awareness, capacity, and willingness to invest. Cyber-attacks on the water sector can endanger drinking water supply, water quality, transboundary flood risk reduction, water flows and water allocations, electricity, agricultural production, as well as wastewater collection and treatment systems with devastating effects on health, environment and economy.
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At the national level, various efforts are under way to understand threats, manage risks, deal with the incidents, and develop capabilities and resilience. Cybersecurity risk management and assessment need to become central to water facilities governance. Partnership with the technology industry is essential.
Cybersecurity risks can only be effectively managed through enhanced international cooperation. This is especially important in transboundary river basins – attacks on the infrastructure of one country can also pose serious threats to facilities in other riparian countries.
While there is a consensus that international law, including the United Nations Charter in its entirety, applies to cybersecurity, unfortunately, the precise contours of how it does remains a subject of discussions. By adopting the UNGA Resolution 70/237 (2015), states agreed that they should not conduct or knowingly support hostile cybersecurity operations against critical infrastructure. States need to go a step further and clarify what protection international law offers specifically to water infrastructure both in peacetime situations and during armed conflicts.
The meeting will bring together experts from different countries, international organizations and the private sector to explore enhancements on implementation of SDG6 and SDG16 of the Agenda 2030. It will reaffirm commitment to multilateralism in the area of new challenges regarding water. To face these challenges, we need a networked multilateralism, strengthening coordination among multilateral and regional organizations; and an inclusive multilateralism, based on deep interaction with civil society, businesses, local and regional authorities and other stakeholders. Participants will explore possible practical follow-up to facilitate the exchange of information and best practices, and to discuss the implications of international law.
Representatives of Permanent Missions in Geneva, experts from the capitals working on or interested in issues pertaining to water and cybersecurity, non-governmental and international organizations, as well as other interested stakeholders, academia and the private sector.
- How to increase the awareness and resilience of water sectors against cyber-attacks at the national level? How to build partnerships with the private sector?
- How to improve cybersecurity in transboundary water mechanisms?
- What protections does international law offer to water infrastructure?
10:00 – 10:10 Opening remarks
Prof Petteri Taalas, World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) Secretary General
10:10 – 11:00 National presentations
Moderator: Dr Uros Svete, Director of Information Security Administration, Slovenia
Mr Joze Tomec, Public Utility VOKA SNAGA, Slovenia
Mr Danny Lecker, Water Authority, Israel
Mr Raanan Adin, Water Association, Israel
Mr Tamás Belovai, General Directorate of Water Management, Hungary
Mr Jon Fanzun, Special Envoy for Cyber Foreign and Security Policy, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
11:00 – 11:15 Regional activities
Moderator: Mr Johannes Cullmann, Director - Water Snow Ice, World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)
Mr Leonardo de Vizio, Policy Officer, Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology, European Commission
Ms Sonja Koeppel, Secretary of the Water Convention, UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
11:15 – 11:25 Coffee break
11:25 – 11:50 Private sector
Moderator: Ms Nena Dokuzov, Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, Slovenia
Ms Kaja Ciglic, Director of Digital Diplomacy, Microsoft
Mr Tadej Slapnik, Director, HashNET, Slovenia
Dr Sara Bitan, CyCLoak, Israel
Mr Shaul Rom, Reali Technologies, Israel
11:50 – 12:50 International organizations
Moderator: Ambassador Gideon Behar, Special Envoy for Climate Change and Sustainability at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Israel
Mr Enrico Formica, UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs
Mr Kubo Macak, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
Mr Hichem Khadhraoui, Director of. Operations, Geneva Call
Mr Andraz Kastelic, Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR)
Mr François Muenger, Director, Geneva Water Hub
Dr Jovan Kurbalija, Director, Geneva Internet Platform
12:50 – 13:00 Conclusion
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