Water and Cyber security - Protection of critical water-related infrastructure (Online 10:00-13:00 (CET))

Water and Cyber security - Protection of critical water-related infrastructure (Online 10:00-13:00 (CET))

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Date

18 November 2020
Location:
Online

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.

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.

Participants 

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.

Guiding questions

  1. 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?
  2. How to improve cybersecurity in transboundary water mechanisms?
  3. What protections does international law offer to water infrastructure?

Provisional Agenda

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

Panellists:

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)

Panellists:

Ms Svetlana Schuster, Head of the Sector for Implementation of the NIS Directive, 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

Panellists:

Ms Kaja Ciglic, Director of Digital Diplomacy, Microsoft
Mr Tadej Slapnik, Director, Tolar 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

Panellists:

Mr Enrico Formica, UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs
Mr David Jensen, UN Environment Programme (UNEP)
Mr Kubo Macak, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
Mr Andraz Kastelic, Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR)
Mr François Muenger, Director, Geneva Water Hub
Ms Susanne Schmeier, IHE Delft Institute for Water Education
Dr Jovan Kurbalija, Director, Geneva Internet Platform

12:50 – 13:00 Conclusion

 

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