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Commonwealth Cyber Declaration Programme

The Commonwealth Cyber Declaration was signed at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London in 2018.

The Cyber Declaration sets out the commitments made by Heads of Government to support a cyberspace that promotes economic and social development, and rights online.

These commitments aim to build the foundations of an effective national cybersecurity response and to promote stability in cyberspace through international cooperation.

Implementation of the Cyber Declaration

With the financial support of the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Commonwealth Secretariat has worked on 4 distinct projects in order to implement the commitments of the Cyber Declaration across the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth Secretariat partnered with a number of regional and international organisations in the delivery of the programme, including UNODC, CARICOM IMPACS, and the Council of Europe.

Project 1 - African Cyber Resilience

The African Cyber Resilience project has focused in particular on the experiences of The Gambia, Kenya and Namibia and on reviewing and reforming their existing cyber legislation.

This has included drafting new cyber legislation for those countries which did not previously have a cyber-framework in place.  

Project 2 - Electronic Evidence Training in the Caribbean

The Electronic Evidence Training in the Caribbean project provided the essential training for judges, prosecutors and cybercrime investigators throughout the Caribbean region. A further activity to train trainers included tutors from law schools in the Caribbean.

Feedback from these workshops suggests the implementation of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s training in local institutions’ curriculums would be beneficial so that participants can develop their knowledge more widely within their own organisations.

Project 3 - International Co-operation

The International Co-operation project focused on the importance of cross-border co-operation in order to identify and fight cybercrimes or cybersecurity breaches.

This project resulted in:

  • three regional workshops for the training of focal points in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific;
  • the establishment of focal points in 46 Commonwealth countries for electronic evidence;
  • a cross-border evidence exercise, which simulated a cyber attack and where participants had to collaborate with counterparts in Commonwealth countries. Winners were presented with awards at a special event at Marlborough House.

Project 4 - Election Cybersecurity

The Election Cybersecurity project involved regional workshops held in Johannesburg, Sydney, and Trinidad and Tobago, reaching over 35 countries in total from Africa, the Caribbean, and the Asia-Pacific regions.

This project also involved the development and launch of the Commonwealth Best Practice Guide on Cybersecurity for Elections.

The Guide includes evaluations and recommendations from expert consultants on best practice across the Commonwealth.

History of the Secretariat’s Cyber work

Prior to the Commonwealth Cyber Declaration, the Commonwealth Secretariat undertook work on cybercrime and cybersecurity under the Commonwealth Cybercrime Initiative.

Achievements include:

  • Reviews and recommendations given by the Commonwealth Secretariat for the reform of Cybercrime Legislation in Ghana, Botswana, and Trinidad and Tobago, following various scoping missions
  • Direct assistance in Trinidad and Tobago to establish their new Information Commission
  • Further efforts to increase child protection online, and to support academic research
  • Assisting Botswana with the reform of its 2007 Cybercrime Act