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Development Account Projects

Regional harmonization of cyber legislation to promote the knowledge society in the Arab world

Background:

High technology sectors do not flourish if they are left to market forces alone.  To prosper, these sectors need a proactive and favorable environment which, in turn, requires the creation and maintenance of a reliable legal and regulatory framework. Most developed countries, as well as some developing countries, have already modernized their legal and regulatory framework to meet the requirements that were brought forth by new technologies. As an example, in 1999, the European Union (EU) launched the “eEurope Initiative” which encourages the regional harmonization of legislations and standards in order to, amongst other goals, facilitate the movement of merchandise and data across borders, encourage the creation and proliferation of an Information Society and spread the benefits of copyright protection laws to all countries of the Union. ESCWA member countries (EMCs) and the Arab World would benefit from the implementation of a similar initiative in the region.

The project proposed covers harmonization efforts and additional activities. It will impact various domains and subjects that include laws and regulations for telecommunications, intellectual property rights, e-signature, e-commerce, cyber crime, data protection as well as privacy and consumer protection on the Internet.

Objective:

To assist in the development and implementation of a harmonized legal and regulatory framework for cyber legislations in the ESCWA region. Modern and harmonized cyber legislations will strengthen the foundations of a nascent ICT enabling environment and will accelerate the use of ICT applications in the region.

Expected Accomplishments:

  • Raising the awareness of policy and decision makers on cyber legislations and the essential role they play in building the Information Society.

  • Providing a basis for harmonization of legal and regulatory frameworks related to the information society in the ESCWA member countries, based on model directives

Implementation Status:

It is worth mentioning that this project and its intermediaries’ results were presented in various workshops and conferences in the Arab region in 2010, namely the Workshop organized by UN-ECA North Africa office on the Harmonization of Legal Framework for the Cyber Security, 27-28 July 2010, in Rabat (Morocco), and the Arab Conference on e-Commerce organized by ARADO and the Chamber of Commerce in Jordan, 5-6 December 2010, Amman (Jordan). During these interventions, ESCWA included also the recommendations of its previous activities related to cyber legislation. Many countries which are developing their national cyber laws are taking into account the results of ESCWA’s reports and its template for cyber legislation.