Tag Archives: Equality

Taking action where we can to stop Cybercrime

By Yury Fedotov

The author is the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The op-ed is on the need for cooperation to tackle cybercrime.

Cyber. It is the inescapable prefix defining our world today. From the privacy of individuals to relations between states, cyber dominates discussions and headlines – so much so that we risk being paralyzed by the magnitude of the problems we face.

Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

But we would do well to keep in mind that despite the many outstanding questions on the future of cybersecurity and governance, international cooperation is essential to tackle the ever-growing threats of cybercrime.

Online exploitation and abuse of children. Darknet markets for illicit drugs and firearms. Ransomware attacks. Human traffickers using social media to lure victims. Cybercrime’s unprecedented reach – across all borders, into our homes and schools, businesses, hospitals and other vital service providers – only amplifies the threats.

A recent estimate put the global cost of cybercrime at 600 billion US dollars. The damage done to sustainable development and safety, to gender equality and protection –women and girls are disproportionately harmed by online sexual abuse – is immense.

Keeping people safer online is an enormous task and no one entity or government has the perfect solution. But there is much we can do, and need to do more of, to strengthen prevention and improve responses to cybercrime, namely:

  • Build up capabilities, most of all law enforcement, to shore up gaps, particularly in developing countries; and
  • Strengthen international cooperation and dialogue – between governments, the United Nations, other international as well as regional organizations, INTERPOL and the many other partners, including business and civil society, with a stake in stopping cybercrime.

Cyber-dependent crime, including malware proliferation, ransomware and hacking; cyber-enabled crime, for example email phishing to steal financial data; and online child sexual exploitation and abuse all have something in common besides the “cyber” aspect: they are crimes.

Police, prosecutors and judges need to understand these crimes, they need the tools to investigate and go after the criminals and protect the victims, and they need to be able to prosecute and adjudicate cases.

At the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), we are working in more than 50 countries to provide the necessary training, to sharpen investigative skills, trace cryptocurrencies as part of financial investigations, and use software to detect online abuse materials and go after predators.

As a direct result of our capacity-building efforts in one country, a high-risk paedophile with over 80 victims –– was arrested, tried and convicted. We delivered the training in partnership with the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children and Facebook. This is just one example of how capacity building and partnerships with NGOs and the private sector can ensure that criminals are behind bars and vulnerable children protected.

Working with the Internet Watch Foundation, we have launched child sexual abuse reporting portals – most recently in Belize – so that citizens can take the initiative to report abuse images and protect girls and boys from online exploitation.

With partners including Thorn and Pantallas Amigas we are strengthening online protection and educating parents, caregivers and children about cyber risks through outreach in schools and local communities. Prevention is the key.

UNODC training – focused primarily on Central America, the Middle East and North Africa, Eastern Africa and South East Asia – is also helping to identify digital evidence in online drug trafficking, confront the use of the darknet for criminal and terrorist purposes, and improve data collection to better address threats.

A critical foundation for all our efforts is international cooperation. Our work – which is entirely funded by donor governments – has shown that despite political differences, countries can and do come together to counter the threats of cybercrime.

We are also strengthening international cooperation through the Intergovernmental Expert Group, which meets at UNODC headquarters in Vienna.

Established by General Assembly resolution, the Expert Group brings together diplomats, policy makers and experts from around the globe to discuss the most pressing challenges in cybercrime today. These meetings demonstrate the desire and willingness of governments to pursue pragmatic cooperation, which can only help to improve prevention and foster trust.

As a next step, we need to reinforce these efforts, including by providing more resources to support developing countries, which often have the most new Internet users and the weakest defences against cybercrime.

Tech companies are an indispensable ally in the fight against cybercrime. We need to increase public-private sector engagement to address common concerns like improving education and clamping down on online abuse material.

Countering cybercrime can save lives, grow prosperity and build peace. By strengthening law enforcement capacities and partnering with businesses so they can be part of the solution, we can go a long way in ensuring that the Internet can be a force for good.

UNDP Administrator Ms. Helen Clark, visits Zambia

UNDP Administrator Ms. Helen Clark was in Zambia from July 16 to July 19 2015. During this visit she held a number of meetings with Republican President Mr. Edger Lungu, The National Assembly, Minister of Foreign Affairs and corporating partners of the United Nations in Zambia.

UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark on arrival in Chief Nyampande's area, Petauke, Eastern province, Zambia. Photo credit/UNIC Lusaka

UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark on arrival in Chief Nyampande’s area, Petauke, Eastern province, Zambia. Photo credit/UNIC Lusaka

She also took part in the official launch of the “HeforShe” Campaign which took place in Chief Nyampande area and Misolo Village in Petauke, of the Eastern Province Zambia some 500kms from the capital city Lusaka on July 18, 2015 she was accompanied by the UN Zambia Resident Coordinator Ms. Janet Rogan and UNDP staff. The launch was graced by the Head of State, various traditional Chiefs, the Ministers of Gender; Chiefs and Traditional Affairs, Women for Change and other corporating partners.

In Lusaka, she saw the President; the Vice President who hosted a lunch on environment and climate change resilience, attended by the Ministers of Mines, Energy and Water Development, Agriculture and Tourism as well as the French Ambassador and the Director of the Disaster Mitigation and Management Unit; the Speaker of the National Assembly and Chairs of main Committees and Caucuses, including the new SDG Caucus; the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who also hosted a reception for her; the Ministers of Commerce, Trade and Industry and Transport, Works and Supply and Communications, who co-hosted a meeting with the private sector; the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, who hosted a meeting with youth representatives. The Chief Justice hosted lunch with senior members of the judiciary. She also met the diplomatic community in Lusaka and the UN Country Team.

Students wearing branded attire for the "HeforShe" campaign.

Students wearing branded attire for the “HeforShe” campaign. Photo Credit/UNIC Lusaka

Her field trip to Eastern Province was a great success. The President agreed to launch the Zambia HeForShe campaign and spent the whole day with the UN Team at Chief Nyamphande’s village and then at Misolo village visiting the Anti-GBV One-Stop Shop there. We could not have a better platform for pushing forward this campaign. Driving around Eastern Province, Helen was struck by the persisting levels of rural poverty, which she had also seen in other countries, such as Malawi and Tanzania, which have not experienced conflict since independence. She found the persistent rural poverty and inequalities in such circumstances shocking and she hopes that, among other work, the UN (UNDP) extractives project, once launched, can become part of a solution for dealing with persistent rural poverty and inequalities.

About the global HeforShe Campaign, HeForShe is a solidarity campaign for gender equality initiated by UN Women. Its goal is to engage men and boys as agents of change for the achievement of gender equality and women’s rights, by encouraging them to take action against inequalities faced by women and girls. Grounded in the idea that gender equality is an issue that affects all people — socially, economically and politically — it seeks to actively involve men and boys in a movement that was originally conceived as “a struggle for women by women”. Some noticed the contradiction of a campaign for gender equality which only takes action against inequalities faced by women and girls, ignoring problems affecting men and boys.

Branded HeforShe Minibus at Chief Nyampandes Palace. Petauke, Eastern Province, Zambia.

Branded HeforShe Minibus at Chief Nyampandes Palace. Petauke, Eastern Province, Zambia. Photo Credit/UNIC Lusaka

On the HeForShe website, a map which uses a geo-locator to record global engagement in the campaign counts the number of men and boys around the world who have taken the HeForShe pledge, as UN Women works towards its goal of engaging 1 million men and boys by July 2015. The campaign website also includes implementation plans for UN agencies, individuals and civil society, as well as those on university and college campuses, both through online and sustained engagement.

“Initially we were asking the question, ‘Do men care about gender equality?’ and we found out that they do care,” said Elizabeth Nyamayaro, senior adviser to the executive director of UN Women. “Then we started to get a lot of emails from men who signed up, who now want to do more.”