September 23rd, 2014

Vanuatu hosts the first Pacific Islands workshops on Child Online Protection and Commonwealth National Cybersecurity Framework

London, 22 September 2014 – The Telecommunications and Radiocommunications Regulator of Vanuatu (TRR), the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer of Vanuatu (OGCIO), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), in collaboration with the International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyberthreats (IMPACT) organised the first regional capacity building workshops on “Child Online Protection and the Commonwealth National Cybersecurity Framework” for the Pacific region in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

During the three-day workshop held on 22 – 24 September 2014, around 100 participants from the region, including policymakers, business leaders and representatives from civil society are sharing information on the risks associated with the use of the Internet in order to identify solutions and measures to address the issue at regional level. More specifically, they are focusing on risks to which children using the Internet are exposed, and for which they will adopt a regional framework for cooperation. The online safety of children and teenagers is a priority for the TRR and other stakeholders in the region, and it requires significant effort and cooperation to be achieved.

“A survey conducted here in Vanuatu at the Central School in Port Vila by the ITU and TRR revealed some disturbing facts. Of almost 300 students surveyed, 15 per cent had been cyber-bullied; 10 per cent admitted to sending bullying messages or texts; and 10 per cent of the children had been contacted online or via mobile phone by a stranger.” said the Honourable Joe Natuman, Prime Minister of Vanuatu and Minister Responsible for ICTs & Telecommunications.

“ So it is our purpose this week to discuss these issues, and to come up with national strategies and action plans to create a better cyberenvironment for children and youth. We need to do this using a multi-stakeholder approach that emphasizes extensive public consultation and education.” Prime Minister Natuman added.

“Active use of the Internet and its associated technologies like social media, has greatly expanded the scope for information sharing, research, education, and also elevated the platform for social, developmental and humanitarian activities.” said Sameer Sharma, Acting Regional Director at the ITU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.

“Every day there is a new innovation which also poses new challenge as well. With the great opportunities presented by the evolution of technology, comes even greater responsibility, more so to the young citizens of the globe.” Mr Sharma said.

Following the regional workshop, a two-day national workshop will be held on 25 – 26 September 2014 on building a national child online protection strategy for Vanuatu.

The Commonwealth approach to developing national cybersecurity strategies was also presented by Lasantha De Alwis, the CTO’s Director/Head of Operations; the model which provides a framework for countries to develop their own national strategies, will help countries address local needs and priorities in developing a robust and resilient cybersecurity strategy.
The CTO has been working on cybersecurity initiatives since 2007 and has recently partnered with the ITU to implement child online protection strategies in Cameroon, the Gambia, Ghana, Mauritius, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

More Information

For more information please contact:
Marcel Belingue, Senior Manager, Head of Membership & Communications
44 (0) 208 600 3800
44 (0) 208 600 3819