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9th June 2020

IIC US Chapter Webinar: Cybersecurity at the United Nations

Chapter event, Virtual Event

On 9 June 2020, the US Chapter hosted a webinar on United Nations activities related to cybersecurity. US Chapter co-chair Andrew Haire started the discussion, and the panelists were Timo Koster, career diplomat at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ambassador-at-large for Security Policy and Cyber, and Veni Markovski, vice president for United Nations engagement at ICANN.

Ambassador Koster outlined six areas of cybersecurity focus of the Open Ended Working Group and the Group of Governmental Experts at the United Nations:

  1. Identifying Existing and Potential Threats to Cybersecurity
  2. International Law and the Applicability Thereof to Questions of Cybersecurity
  3. Norms, Rules, and Principles for State Behavior in the Case of Cybersecurity
  4. Confidence Building Measures that Can Apply to Cybersecurity Efforts
  5. Capacity Building Efforts, Including Closing Connectivity Gaps Around the World
  6. Promotion of Regular Institutional Dialogue on the Subject of Cybersecurity and Connectivity

There was a great deal of discussion about the merits, or lack thereof, of a new international treaty on cybersecurity, and Ambassador Koster made the case for relying on existing international law and building on progress already made.

Mr. Markovski described ICANN’s role interfacing with the United Nations, indicating that it is the intention of the organization to educated, explain, and help the United Nations understand the operations of the World Wide Web and the Internet in general as it considers cybersecurity policy. He also described in detail the various cybersecurity working groups at the United Nations and who interfaces with each.

The audio recording of the webinar will be available shortly. The US Chapter is grateful to Ambassador Koster and Mr. Markovski for leading the very useful discussion.

Report of the US Chapter Webinar

On 9 June 2020, the US Chapter hosted a webinar on United Nations activities related to cybersecurity. US Chapter co-chair Andrew Haire started the discussion, and the panelists were Timo Koster, career diplomat at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ambassador-at-large for Security Policy and Cyber, and Veni Markovski, vice president for United Nations engagement at ICANN.


Recording of the US Chapter Webinar

This on-line session, provided the opportunity for an interactive discussion between panellists followed by Q&A from the audience. The full session can be seen here.

Timo S. Koster Former Ambassador-at-Large, Security Policy & Cyber, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Timo S. Koster was Ambassador-at-large for Security Policy & Cyber at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2018-2020. Prior to this, since 2012, he was Director for Defence Policy and Capabilities at NATO HQ in Brussels.

After finishing his law degree at the University of Amsterdam, Ambassador Koster joined the diplomatic academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands in 1991. His first appointment was at the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. Back in The Hague from 1994, he served in several positions within the Ministry, including a stint as Private Secretary to the Minister for European Affairs, before moving to the Royal Netherlands Embassy in London, as Head of Economic Department, between 1998 and 2001.

In 2001, Ambassador Koster became Acting Director for European Integration at the Ministry of Economic Affairs, after which he served as a Project Director at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. In 2003 Mr. Koster was appointed Deputy Ambassador at the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Athens, Greece. In 2008 he moved to Brussels where he served as Defence Advisor at the Netherlands Permanent Representation to NATO until 2012 when he moved to the position of Director Defence Policy & Capabilities in the NATO International Staff.

Ambassador Koster is affiliated to the Atlantic Council Washington DC as a non-resident Ambassadorial Fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Centre for International Strategy and Security.


Veni Markovski
Veni Markovski Vice-President, UN Engagement (New York), ICANN

Veni Markovski is based in New York, and is responsible for the relations with the United Nations, the UN Agencies in New York, and the Permanent Missions to the United Nations.

Mr Markovski has graduated law, but before that, back in September 1990 he started his work on the Internet, as a system operator of the first Sofia-based bulletin-board system, part of FidoNet.

In 1993 Mr. Markovski formed with another of the Bulgarian Internet pioneers, Mr. Dimitar Ganchev, their company –, the first commercial Internet service provider in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. Mr Markovski was President and CEO of for nine years. The two owners sold the company successfully in 2008 to an international investment fund.

In 1995 he co-founded the Bulgarian Internet Society, a non-profit, of which he serves as President and chairman of the Board.

In March 2002 Mr. Markovski was appointed as Chairman of the Bulgarian President’s IT Advisory Council, a position he held until the President stepped down from office at the end of his second term on January 22, 2012.

In 2005 he was invited to be the senior international projects adviser to the chairman of the governmental Agency for Information Technologies and communications, a position that he held until 2009. He was also adviser to the Bulgarian national cybersecurity coordinator from 2009 till 2013.

Since the beginning of his career, Mr Markovski has been involved in different international organizations and programs on different levels – as project manager, adviser, senior adviser, advocate for policy changes, mediator, board member, etc. He has served on the Boards of CPSR, ISOC, ICANN, among others.

Widely recognized as a computer geek and expert in cyber, Mr. Markovski is a frequent speaker at international conferences, and is often being approached for advice by companies, organizations, and governments.


Andrew Haire Principal, AJH Communications

Andrew Haire has been associated with some of the industry’s most successful telecom initiatives and his portfolio includes architecting major policy frameworks in the telecoms, technology, and postal sectors, as well as serving as regulator and ICT policy for 10 years at Singapore’s IDA, soon after its inception in the year 2000.

Previously, his experience included senior management roles with regulatory and public policy portfolios at one of the world’s largest telecom operators and before that, various engineering and management positions at the world’s largest computer company.

Mr Haire holds a degree in engineering in the United States, and attended the advanced management program from Harvard University.

Event details
9th June 2020
Online Meeting
Privacy, Safety, Security

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