Laura Crespo is a Ph.D student at the University of Lausanne, where she is currently writing her dissertation on Switzerland’s role regarding the international normative debate in the cyber realm.
Ms. Crespo works at the Division for Security Policy, International Security, within the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). As a political affairs officer she is involved in the implementation of the strategy on protecting Switzerland against cyber risks within the FDFA. Further, she is engaged in different international processes regarding cyber-security, in particular the process within the OSCE on confidence building measures. Prior to that she worked at the Project Cyber Defence within the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport, that was in charge of developing the cyber strategy.
Confidence-building measures as an instrument for conflict prevention. A Swiss perspective on the OSCE process on confidence-building measures in the cyber domain
Building confidence is a strong component in the contextual environment of peace and security. To develop a sustainable security and peace regime confidence-building measures are acknowledged as powerful facilitators of transparency and predictability.
Confidence reduces deep-seated mutual suspicions, concerns and fears. Building confidence is a gradual process based on reciprocity and continuity. In the development of constructive and durable relationships a culture of “give-and-take” is necessary to dispel mistrust. Although the instrument of confidencebuilding measures was developed for universal use, its origin is the European theatre.
On 27 June 2012, the Swiss Federal Council (the Swiss Government) adopted a national cyber security strategy titled the “national strategy for Switzerland’s protection against cyber-risks. The national cyber strategy recognizes the importance of international cooperation to mitigate cyber risks. One measure in particular–measure 10–states that “Switzerland cooperates at the international security policy level so as to counteract the threat in cyberspace together with other countries and international organizations.
It monitors the respective developments at the diplomatic level and promotes political exchanges within the framework of international conferences and other diplomatic initiatives”. The presentation seeks to outline Switzerland’s role regarding the OSCE’s confidence-building measures in the cyber realm. In doing so, the author will address two main questions : How did Switzerland contribute to the OSCE process on CBMs?; and what, if any, were the Swiss activities that added value to the OSCE’s work? As participation and cooperation regarding cybersecurity within the OSCE arguably further Switzerland’s commitment to international peace and stability, article will focus on the OSCE as a critical regional organization fostering security through multilateral channels.
What is more, the author argues that, for Switzerland, the OSCE process on confidencebuilding measures in cyberspace has been instrumental in developing its foreign policy profile and defining its international posture in the cyber domain. The author will also provide recommendations as to how Switzerland can contribute to improving the OSCE process on confidence-building measures in cyberspace.