Latvia welcomes this Arria debate organized by Albania and the US. This meeting continues the important work championed by Estonia to address cybersecurity in the Security Council. Latvia fully supports these efforts. We thank all the briefers for their valuable presentations. Latvia aligns itself with the statement of the EU.

It has been proven over again in the course of history of mankind that discovery and exploration of new realms - be it high seas or space - bring vast opportunities for progress and development, but also reveal new risks and challenges. Although cyberspace is entirely constructed by humans and knows no physical borders, it nevertheless poses similar dilemmas. Furthermore, the cyberspace is a domain which keeps evolving and changing at a rapid pace.

In the context of emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing, ensuring integrity, rule of law and security of the cyberspace becomes even more important task. Threats in the cyber space despite their digital form are not abstract. They manifest the results of malicious actions by individuals, groups or states. Therefore, the path to achieving secure cyberspace is through ensuring adherence to the same fundamental rules and principles that have been established to uphold peace in the physical world.  

As outlined in the concept note of this meeting, the International Law, including the UN Charter in its entirety, is applicable to the cyberspace. This includes Article 2(4) of the UN Charter on the prohibition of use of force. We welcome debates within the UN on how international law applies in cyberspace, which have, inter alia, resulted in establishment of the Framework for responsible state behavior in cyberspace.

We would see a role for the Council to monitor the progress made in implementing the Framework and to hold periodic debates on ensuring a stable and peaceful cyberspace. Equally, we would expect that members of the Council would themselves uphold the norms of responsible behavior to their highest standard. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Russia in particular has concerning track record in this regard. We recall the attack against Viasat’s KA-SAT network, which facilitated Russia’s launch of the full-scale invasion and war of aggression against Ukraine last year.

Without doubt, the international community can be the most effective in contributing to stability and security of cyberspace, when working together, including in the area of strengthening resilience of critical infrastructure. As a first step, states need to continuously exchange positions on the implementation of the Framework for responsible State behavior in the cyber domain. Second, those in need should receive assistance to improve their cyber defenses and resilience through capacity building programs. Third, with more than 40 billion devices connected to the internet and emerging new technologies, it is clear that private sector, too, should be involved in the debate on cyber security.

For these very reasons, Latvia supports the establishment of the Programme of Action as the first permanent institutional mechanism in the UN that would focus on advancing cyber security in inclusive and transparent way. As we proceed towards establishment of this permanent instrument it would be prudent to also consider developing procedures for its interaction with the Council. Such interaction would help ensure that the Council is kept abreast with the relevant developments in the cyber domain and can take timely decisions.