7th Sino-European Cyber Dialogue (SECD) takes place in Geneva

June 7th 2018 - 13:51

The seventh meeting of the Sino-European Cyber Dialogue (SECD) was convened on 12 and 13 April in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting was hosted by The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS) and the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), with the support of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP).

SECD is a track 1.5 dialogue on cyberspace issues supported by the Chinese government, a number of European governments as well as the European External Action Service. The meeting was attended by a broad range of European and Chinese officials and scholars responsible for cybersecurity and Internet governance issues. In total 43 participants attended the meeting. In addition to civil society participation, nine European governments and the EU were represented, as well as a number Chinese government organizations. 

The goals of the discussions have been to reduce misperceptions and to increase transparency of both countries’ authorities and understanding on how each country approaches cybersecurity, and to identify areas of potential cooperation, including the application of international law, confidence building measures and agreement on norms of responsible behavior. A number of ideas for cooperation have been put on the table by HCSS and CICIR to this end, and will require further discussions.

In the Geneva meeting, participants from each delegation first commented on the events, developments and major milestones since the previous meeting. Afterwards, they discussed issues related to Internet governance, the digital economy, international law, norms and norm processes. In the seventh iteration, there was an engaged exchange of ideas on how to deepen the discussion on international law, the implementation of norms of responsible State behavior and confidence-building measures (CBMs). Of particular interest were options to explore the adaption of regional norms and CBMs in a localized context.

The delegates stressed the importance of a reliable functioning of cyberspace, and recognized the value that open dialogues and other practical CBMs have on enhancing mutual understanding, cooperation and de-escalation, and in ensuring the overall stability of cyberspace.

Looking forward, delegates acknowledged the merit of exploring more concrete discussions for the eighth iteration of the Sino-European Cyber Dialogue to be held in China in the first half of 2019.