On October 9-10, 2018 Minsk hosted the high level international conference “Preventing and Countering Terrorism in the Digital Age”, organized by the MFA of the Republic of Belarus in cooperation with the OSCE Secretariat.
The event attracted more than 250 participants from 46 countries and enjoyed a wide international coverage.
The opening session included statements by Ambassador Thomas Greminger, OSCE Secretary General, Vladimir Voronkov, UN Under-Secretary-General and Head of the UN Counter-Terrorism Office; Yuri Fedotov, UN Under-Secretary-General, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and Director-General of the UN Office in Vienna; Sergey Lebedev, Chairman of the CIS Executive Committee and CIS Executive Secretary; Valery Semerikov, Deputy Secretary General of the CSTO; Liu Jie, Deputy Director of Executive Committee, Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
The State Secretary of the Security Council of the Republic of Belarus Stanislav Zas read out the welcoming address of the President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko to the participants of the conference.
In his speech, S.Zas assured that in the framework of global and national security Belarus will continue to contribute in a tangible way to resolving global and regional problems. He also stressed the importance of interaction and exchange of information between security services and law enforcement agencies, supplemented by comprehensive partnerships between the state, civil society and business.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus Vladimir Makei outlined in his statement the necessity of close coordination in fighting terrorism at global, regional and national levels. He urged to create a unified counterterrorist front and join the consolidated efforts of the United Nations, OSCE, CSTO, CIS and other relevant organizations.
Minister Makei drew the attention of the participants to the initiative of the President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko to renewe a large-scale international dialogue on security issues in order to resolve the deep crisis of trust in international relations and to develop together mechanisms aimed at strengthening peace and international security, as well as ensuring sustainable development.
Ambassador Greminger noted that the OSCE encourages the development of nuanced approaches to countering terrorism with the use of ICT. At the same time he drew attention to the need of respecting human rights and gender aspects in this process.
During the conference the representatives of the European Union, UN Counter-Terrorism Committee, UN Office on Drugs and Crime, INTERPOL, Council of Europe, line ministries and governmental bodies of the OSCE participating States and Partners for cooperation, joined by experts from Belarus, discussed topical issues on countering terrorism and ensuring cybersecurity.
The agenda of the conference consisted of three sessions. The first one — “Implementing the OSCE Framework against Terrorism in the Digital Age” — focused on the progress and challenges related to the implementation of OSCE commitments in the sphere of counter-terrorism.
The second session was devoted to “The importance of public private partnerships in preventing and countering terrorism online". The focus was made on reviewing lessons learned and best practices, as well as on the identification of possible priority areas for strengthening cooperation between the public and private sectors, including with regard to the OSCE strategic areas for counter-terrorism activities.
The third session “Protecting critical infrastructure against terrorist attacks emanating from cyberspace” offered the opportunity for the participants to share experiences on the international and national efforts in this area.
The closing statement was made by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus Oleg Kravchenko who called for strengthening the mechanisms of international partnerships and legal cooperation for the effective countering of terrorism. He outlined the need to combat the dissemination of ideas of terrorism and extremism in the information sphere while protecting human rights.
Mr. Kravchenko called for using the conclusions and recommendations worked out in the course of the conference in further activities to counter terrorism in the digital age.
Convening this conference in Minsk is one more practical step confirmimg the consistent position of the Republic of Belarus on strengthening international cooperation in the areas having a unifying potential such as countering terrorism and cybercrime.