Ghana Just Pledged to Sign a Major Cybersecurity Agreement. Here’s Why It Matters.
The call for digital peace has garnered tremendous momentum.
In front of more than 50 heads of state and global dignitaries, the president of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, announced at the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 in Johannesburg on Dec. 2 that he would be signing the Paris Call for Trust & Security in Cyberspace, a landmark, multi-stakeholder framework for averting cyberwarfare.
The announcement demonstrated the incredible momentum the pact has generated since it was first unveiled by French President Emmanuel Macron in early November, and the influence of the Digital Peace Campaign that was first launched by Microsoft at the Global Citizen Festival in New York on Sept. 29.
“I’m honored to join you today in celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela, Madiba, a man who left an indelible imprint on his generation and humanity,” Akufo-Addo said on stage. “A man who many of us consider Africa’s greatest leader, and one of her great gifts to humankind.”
“I’m happy to state today that several government across Africa are making an important commitment and contribution to global peace, including digital peace,” he added. “I’m delighted to announce Ghana’s support for the Paris Call, and I urge other nations to do so.”
Take Action: Call for Digital Peace Now
The president also announced that he would be hosting the first “Global Peace Initiative” in 2019, which is “intended to help foster connection between peace and development,” and will likely incorporate elements of the Paris Call.
Akufo-Addo was joined on stage by Baroness Patricia Scotland, Secretary General of the Commonwealth, and Microsoft’s global advocate for digital peace Jamal Edwards.
Edwards noted that progress toward digital peace is being fueled in part by citizens invested in the cause.
“Since we kicked off our Digital Peace Now campaign, more than 100,000 people have signed a petition calling on governments to stop cyberwarfare,” Edwards said on stage. “And your signatures — your voices — led to real action.”
The Digital Peace Now petition acknowledges that there is “no peace without digital peace,” and urges world leaders to recognize the various threats that are growing online by joining the Paris Call and committing to digital peace.
You can sign the petition here.
The Paris Call, meanwhile, seeks to establish voluntary principles for maintaining peace and order in cyberspace. These principles would help protect individuals, digital infrastructure, elections, and the internet as a whole from cyberattacks.
More than 60 governments including Japan, South Korea, all members of the European Union, and Mexico have signed the Paris Call.
By announcing its support on the Global Citizen stage, Ghana showed that the pact’s momentum is still going strong and that it could continue to gain global support through next year.
To make that a reality, however, global citizens everywhere have to continue raising their voice in support of Digital Peace Now.
“This is meaningful progress toward collective action to stop cyberwarfare,” Kate O’Sullivan, Microsoft’s general manager of digital diplomacy, wrote in a blog post. “But this progress could not have been accomplished without the voices of digital citizens everywhere.”
“As a digital citizen, it’s well within your power to help make global online peace a reality. If you haven’t yet, we urge you to sign the Digital Peace Petition. Collectively, we can build a real community of ambassadors for digital peace”