The FINANCIAL — Georgia’s first Cyber Security Forum was held in Tbilisi today, on September 25 to identify problems in Georgian cybersecurity and find ways to settle them with the involvement of the diplomatic corps and international institutions. The forum was organized by the National Security Council and supported by the Government of Georgia. The head of the government noted that the Cyber Security Forum, which is being held for the first time in Tbilisi, should be a very important event for strengthening Georgia’s national security in cyberspace. Also, US Ambassador Kelly C. Degnan gave remarks at the Cybersecurity Forum 2020.
Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia opened the forum. The Cyber Security Forum aimed to identify the challenges that exist in national cybersecurity environment and develop an appropriate plan to address the problematic issues. The forum was given an annual character and it should serve as a platform for sharing ideas on the challenges and opportunities facing Georgia and the Black Sea region in cyberspace. The event was attended by representatives of relevant Georgian agencies, diplomatic missions and international institutions, Georgian Public Broadcasting reported.
“We all know that we are waiting for very important coming elections, and cyber-issues, cyber-risks, and cyber-threats can be very challenging for this country,” Gakharia stated in his speech during the opening of the Georgian Cyber Security Forum. Minister stressed the need for a national-level structure with the mandate of coordinating the respective sectoral agencies. According to him, the identification and management of national-level cyber incidents becomes very important in this context. “We do realize that we are facing challenges in many of the abovementioned directions. Accordingly, our goal is to solve the existing problems. Therefore, the goal of today’s meeting is to confirm our mutual commitments in the cyber field at a high political level. At the same time, we need to discuss Georgian cyber security architecture, the draft National Cyber Security Strategy, and the current reform in information security legislation,” he noted.
Internal Affairs Minister and National Security Council Secretary Vakhtang Gomelauri, Vice Prime Minister and Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani, Defense Minister Irakli Gharibashvili, State Security Service Head Grigol Liluashvili, Foreign Affairs Minister Davit Zalkaliani, EU Ambassador Carl Hartzell, US Ambassador Kelly Degnan, UK Ambassador Mark Clayton, and Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia Riina Kaljurand addressed the participants of the Cyber Security Forum. The event was attended by representatives of the relevant Georgian agencies, diplomatic missions, and international institutions.
US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan has urged the government to urgently ratify the national cybersecurity strategy and an action plan. She said that roles and duties should be clearly defined in the field for the existing problems to be resolved. Degnan said that proper cybersecurity protection during the election period is of ‘the utmost importance’. The EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzell said Georgia has achieved progress in cybersecurity and ‘the country’s positions in international rankings prove this.’ He said that Georgia should continue its efforts to ensure better cybersecurity and make changes to the law. However, Hartzell said that ensuring cybersecurity should not take place at the expense of the violation of human rights or personal data, according to local media agenda.ge
Ambassador Degnan spoke about the ways the United States has committed to helping Georgia strengthen its cybersecurity capabilities, including the Central Election Commission’s new $1.9 million Cyber Server Center project, and training by U.S.-based experts to help build a strong pool of Georgian cybersecurity experts. Ambassador Degnan also underlined the need for continued effort to ratify Georgia’s national cybersecurity strategy and to clearly delineate roles and responsibilities in the cyber realm. The United States will continue to work together with the international donor community to provide support to Georgia in achieving its cybersecurity goals.
Another important news is that newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan Jeyhun Bayramov paid his first official visit to Tbilisi on September 24, where he met with Georgian officials: President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili, his Georgian colleague David Zalkaliani, Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia and Vice Speaker Kakhaber Kutchava. Relations between the two nations and prospects of cooperation were discussed at the meeting with Gakharia and Bayramov. Significance of strategic partnership existing between the two countries has been underlined. Read more.