Pacific Islands Cyber Capacity Building Engagement – Strategic Cyber Planning and Implementation’ Conference

Report by Elvin Prasad

The ‘Pacific Islands Cyber Capacity Building Engagement – Strategic Cyber Planning and Implementation’ Conference was recently hosted in Nadi, Fiji on 19 & 20 August, 2019.
The 2-day conference was held at Sheraton Fiji Resort, with the aim to build Cyber capacity for Pacific member countries, assist with the development of national Cybersecurity strategies and establish national Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERT). ICT Connectivity for Pacific countries was another topic of discussion –addressing infrastructure issues and connectivity challenges and opportunities that lie within this region.
Six countries from across the Pacific were represented by senior officials and Cyber policy makers to discuss best practices in establishing long-term Cyber strategies and implementing Cybersecurity development solutions for the Pacific region.
The conference brought together experts from regional organizations, academic institutions and officials from several governmental agencies. National representatives shared their progress updates in Cybersecurity and talked about the challenges in bringing secure and resilient connectivity to their countries.
The Conference sessions were mainly focused on strategic and policy approaches, discussions on Cyber capacity building efforts for the Pacific region, which included the following topics :
• National Cyber Strategy Development and Implementation
• Cyber Best Practices
• ICT Connectivity for Pacific Islands
• National Risk Identification and Management
• Mitigating Risk Through Incident Response Preparedness

Figure 1. Participants at the Pacific Islands Cyber Capacity Building Engagement Conference

Based on recent findings, most Pacific member countries supported the idea of a Regional Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) model. The successful implementation of a Regional CERT would depend on accessible resources and financial support; towards such a critical initiative that will ensure best practices for achieving regional security in the Pacific.
More than 40% of the respondents felt that CERT establishments and developing Cyber Crime laws were priority areas for their countries, seeking urgent commitment of their Governments towards these developments.
Safer Internet Center Fiji is engaged in research works around Internet safety and security together with regional partners, tirelessly promoting and empowering Online Safety in the Pacific by developing a protective regional network for socially conscious Internet users. Online safety education, Cyberbullying and Digital Literacy are some of their recent development initiatives.

Elvin Prasad is the Coordinator for Safer Internet Centre Fiji.
The views expressed by the author of this blog are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of PICISOC.

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