Global security and prosperity depend on a secure and stable cyberspace. A myriad of factors threaten equilibrium including: cyberspace's continued militarization, growing activism by non-state actors, sector-based risks that require specialized knowledge and persistent asymmetries in capability. These considerations create the need for an international forum that seeks to deepen consensus on the topic of cyber norms.
The Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace (GCSC) was formally launched at the Munich Security Conference in February 2017 with the support of the Government of the Netherlands. The GCSC serves as a multistakeholder body to generate, evaluate and recommend various state and non-state norms of behavior in cyberspace and propose policy initiatives for inclusion in wider dialogue. The GCSC will meet throughout an initial three-year period to formulate policy recommendations for action—applicable to both state and non-state actors. Detailed recommendations will be published and advocated in capitals, corporate headquarters, and with the general public worldwide.
In December 2015, EWI advocated for the establishment of a forum to help deepen consensus around emerging cyber norms and bridging remaining substantial divides on normative issues. EWI, in cooperation with The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, co-directs the secretariat of the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace.
The Commission was officially launched in 2017 by the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders and met four times throughout the year, culminating in the issuance of its first norm, “Call to Protect the Public Core of the Internet,” at its meeting in November 2017 in New Delhi. This norm urges all stakeholders to avoid any activity that would “intentionally and substantially damage the general availability or integrity” of the infrastructure (such as Internet routing, the domain name system, certificates and trust, and communications cables) that the world depends on to make the Internet work every day.
Building on its successful first year, in 2018 the Commission produced a definition of the public core of the Internet to clarify its first norm, a new norm on protecting electoral infrastructure, and a package of norms addressing topics such as tampering, botnets and offensive cyber operations.
In the third year of its mandate, the GCSC will focus on building on its proposed norms to develop a working definition and principles of cyber stability. Based on this, the Commission will seek to offer recommendations for a future international peace and security framework for cyberspace. It aims to produce a final report early in 2020 containing all its proposed norms as well as explaining its efforts and recommendations to promote cyber stability more generally.
EWI supports the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace to facilitate new norms, policies and initiatives that support the security and stability of cyberspace through research, information exchanges, capacity building and advocating proposals for action.