While the earlier conferences discussed aspects of Freedom and Security in the cyberspace, The Hague conference proposed Growth as an important pillar to enhance focus on development and sustainability.
The conference saw participation from governments, international organizations, private sector companies, civil society organisations and academic institutions. As a priority, civil sector was encouraged to participate and get involved in the discussions during the sessions. In this regard, a pre-event for civil society participants was also planned that comprised of a capacity building session and a strategic planning session. A series of webinars were also held in the run-up to the event.
Some of the important topics that were discussed during the event were – militarizing the internet, mass surveillance, export controls, new capacity building forum Global Forum on Cyber Expertise (GFCE), and Internet engineering: Human rights and internet protocols.
The main outcome of the fourth conference in The Hague was the launch of the GFCE by 42 governments, intergovernmental organizations and companies. It was a multi-stakeholder initiative in which GFCE members presented ten capacity building initiatives which were proposed to be developed under the purview of the GFCE.
The Global Forum on Cyber Expertise (GFCE) is envisaged as a global platform that contributes to cyber capacity building. It aims to match “countries that lack knowledge in certain cyber areas” with knowledge and expertise of countries and companies with more experience in cyber matters. A political declaration that emphasizes the need for more capacity building, exchanges of best practices and strengthens international cooperation is also expected to be adopted.