Statement by the Deputy Permanent Representative of Lithuania on behalf of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania at the Security Council Open Debate on “Addressing Complex Contemporary Challenges to International Peace and Security"
I have the honour to address the Security Council on behalf of Latvia, Estonia and my own country Lithuania. We align ourselves with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
We thank Japan for organizing this Open Debate, which provides an important opportunity to better understand complex contemporary challenges to international peace and security. I would also like to thank the Secretary-General António Guterres for his statement.
The global security environment has indeed changed dramatically in recent years. Some would even argue that the world is entering one of the most dangerous chapters in decades. From the spread of terrorism and violent extremism to transnational organized crime, from climate change to energy and cyber security, our collective inability to prevent and resolve conflicts is giving birth to new threats and emergencies. Shocking abuses of human rights, including violations of women’s rights and the use of rape as a tool of war exacerbate existing instabilities and fuel new conflicts.
The sharp rise in military conflicts ranging from Syria, Yemen, Libya and Sahel to Russian aggression in Ukraine is outstripping our ability to cope with the consequences. Some of these conflicts share features of hybrid and proxy wars and this is what makes them intrinsically contemporary.
The complex and constantly changing nature of non-conventional threats to international peace and security demands innovative responses and actions from the international community. In this regard, we call on all states to support the UN Peace and Security reform that directs us towards a modernized UN, capable of addressing the complex contemporary challenges to the international peace and security and acting much better in prevention.
While today’s subject is vast and the issues are many, let me focus on two priority issues for the Baltic States: hybrid threats and cyber security.
From the weaponisation of information and social media to economic pressures and energy blackmail, to crippling cyberattacks and conventional threats, hybrid warfare is on the rise. Concerns regarding Russia‘s interference in national election processes are not limited to European countries alone. The multifaceted nature of hybrid threats also encompasses politically motivated exploitation of critical infrastructure or even development of unsafe nuclear power on the borders with another country.
Being at the forefront of hybrid threats, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have undertaken a series of actions, both individually and collectively. Enhancing societal resilience to hybrid threats is a priority for our nations. The Baltic States strongly believe that increased societal awareness, resilience building and media and information literacy can contribute to increased preparedness to tackle hybrid threats. To this end, we have initiated programs aimed at helping society to recognize propaganda and information warfare. We are also strengthening our Strategic communications capabilities and working closely with relevant Strategic communication units of the EU and NATO.
With regard to cyber threats to international peace and security, cyberspace constitutes a complex environment, ranging from internet and mobile communications to the security of critical infrastructure. Today we accept that Cyber has become an integral part of a modern conflict landscape. Increased cybercrime and politically motivated attacks on electronic services mean that cyber security is more important than ever before. Back in 2007, when Estonia faced a series of cyber-attacks - one of the earliest internet-era examples of cyber-conflict, that was not yet common wisdom. These attacks brought about an increased awareness to improve cyber security measures all over the world.
Latvia and Lithuania have also experienced politically motivated cyber-attacks. We know by experience that building partnerships is essential for enhancing cyber resilience. Challenges in cyberspace could only be addressed through an inclusive multi-stakeholder approach. Closer cooperation of public and private sectors as well as civil society is of essence. All interested parties must make a joint effort to ensure the security and resilience of information and communications infrastructure, focusing on prevention and preparedness in order to develop effective and coordinated mechanisms for reacting to increasingly more complex cyber-attacks and cybercrimes.
We believe that regional and sub-regional cooperation is key to strengthening cyber security in critical infrastructure. Our three countries have taken serious steps to strengthen cyber security. Furthermore, Lithuania has tabled an initiative to develop mutual assistance in cyber security and cyber rapid response teams within the European Union’s Permanent Structured Cooperation on Security and Defence (PESCO).
The complexity of hybrid and cyber threats clearly calls for more complex and innovative responses from the international community. The very nature of hybrid threats directs us towards recognition that conventional security is not enough: human, societal, environmental and energy security are equally important in order to maintain peace and security in contemporary world.
Hybrid and cyber threats are not going anywhere. They are here to stay as part of the modern warfare. We therefore encourage countries to share best practices and lessons learned in tackling these threats, both regionally and internationally.
The Baltic States remain committed to broadening their understanding of complex drivers and threats to global security and working towards finding relevant and effective responses to the challenges to international peace and security.
Thank you Mr. President.
New York, 20 December, 2017