Information and Communication Technology (ICT) have been one of the primary factors of economic growth in both the developed and the developing world. In developing countries, ICTs have served as a major vehicle for advancing sustainable development, and significant improvement in the standard of living in such countries of the Global South in the past decade.
However, at the same time, concerns have been expressed that these technologies and means can potentially be used for purposes that are inconsistent with the objectives of maintaining international stability and security and may adversely affect the integrity and infrastructure of States to the detriment of their security in both civil and military fields.
Non-Aligned Movement, the largest and the most influential organisation advancing the collective interests of the developing world, has allayed its genuine concern at the illegal use of ICTs. NAM has noted with concern cases of illegal use of ICTs, including social networks, to the detriment of its Member States, and has expressed strong rejection of those violations.
NAM firmly believes that the use of ICT should be consistent within the principles of United Nations Charter and the norms established within matrix of International Law. The final declaration of the 17th NAM Summit categorically stated that Member States should promote the consideration of existing and potential threats from the malicious use of ICTs, as well as possible strategies to address these threats in a multilateral framework and must take into account the on-going efforts of the United Nations.
The declaration further calls for utilising ICT in a manner consistent with International Law and the UN Charter which calls for using information and communication technologies as a strategic tool to enhance the efficiency, effectiveness and impact of the development programmes.
NAM has called for the intensification of efforts towards safeguarding cyberspace from becoming an arena of conflict, and ensuring instead the exclusive peaceful uses which would enable the full realization of the potential of ICTs for contributing to social and economic development. NAM has also stressed that the development of any international legal framework to address issues related to the use of ICTs with implications on international peace and security should be pursued within the UN with the active and equal participation of all States. In United Nations, and other multilateral forums, NAM Member States have constantly stressed on the peaceful use of ICT.
During a meeting of the UN First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) held on October 24, 2016, many NAM Member States expressed concerns at the illegal use of ICTs and suggested mechanisms to ensure the peaceful use. India’s expressed its position that international cooperation in the peaceful use of science and technology had to be promoted through all relevant means, including technology transfers, sharing of information and exchange of equipment and materials.
Scientific and technological developments had civilian and military applications, including weapons of mass destruction, and could lead to the emergence of entirely new weapon systems, having an impact on international security. India, in conformity with the principled position of NAM, said that while progress in science and technology for civilian applications should be encouraged, it was imperative that international transfers of dual-use goods and technologies and high technology with military applications were effectively regulated, keeping in mind the legitimate defence requirements of all States.
National regulations and export controls of appropriate standards in that area should be strengthened and effectively implemented. Algeria expressed concerns that the use of ICTs for non-peaceful purposes, particularly by terrorists, had also become a true danger to international peace and security. Algeria stressed the importance of the United Nations disarmament fora were important tools for countries to participate in discussions and assist countries in implementing treaties they had signed and ratified.
Thus, Non-Aligned Movement reiterates the importance of ensuring that the use of ICTS accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, International Law and, especially, the principles of sovereignty, non-interference in the internal affairs and the well-established principle of peaceful coexistence among States.
By Dr. Ankit Srivastava, Editor