Recent technological advances have deeply transformed the business landscape and practices, offering huge economic and development opportunities to a growing number of Internet users. However, the openness of the Internet, and cyberspace in general, have raised new concerns and a need for legal, regulatory and procedural frameworks to guarantee users’ security and freedom of expression.
As a response to these new challenges, ESCWA has been working with Member States since 2008 to develop and implement:
- Cyber-law and digital landscape policy frameworks and national strategies;
- Policy expert discussions and meetings;
- Capacity building workshops to empower stakeholders at the national and international level.
At the heart of the initiative is the ESCWA Cyber Legislation Directives (2012), which includes models for six areas within cyber legislation tailored to the specific needs identified for of the Arab region:
|E-communication and freedom of expression|
|E-transaction and e-signature|
|E-commerce and consumer protection|
|Personal data protection|
|Intellectual property rights in the cyberspace|
Currently, ESCWA continues to build on this foundation, tackling new trends in cyber security, crime and safety, based in these six areas.
ESCWA organizes a variety of regional and national capacity building workshops on cyber legislation and cyber security and safety.
Workshops on cyber legislation focus on building skills and knowledge in using the directives (model laws) to develop national cyber laws. The directives are generic, and the workshops allow participants to gain understanding of the components that should be included in the legislation and adapted to the national context.
Workshops on cyber security and safety raise awareness and provide information and allow discussion on emerging trends in cyber security and safety within the Arab region. Through debate around case studies on specific issues and their corresponding solutions, participants are equipped with knowledge and information that can be adapted to the needs of their own country when dealing with these emerging issues.
Through its advisory services, ESCWA conducts at the request of the relevant ministries, reviews of proposed national cyber laws against the generic components identified in the ESCWA cyber legislation directives that need to be adapted to national conditions.
Requesting Member States are also provided with advice on potential systems, including technological systems, that can be implemented to effectively manage and apply the stipulations of various cyber laws.
Research on existing and emerging issues in cyber legislation, cyber security and cyber safety is an important component of the work ESCWA does in this area. Research outcomes are discussed with experts to form recommendations on further actions to be taken in the region, thus informing policy papers, policy advice and workshops.
Meet the beneficiaries
ESCWA Cyber Legislation Directives: the foundation for national policy recommendations in the Arab region
The Directives are the foundation of the ESCWA programme on cyber legislation in the Arab region. Since 2012, the Commission has reviewed various national cyber laws and provided advice on policies and strategies to various governments.
Global policy notes and studies
2009 Building Trust in E-Services in the ESCWA Region
|This study provides a review of the challenging aspects of cyberspace, which affect the trust of users in electronic services, and proposes appropriate solutions. It also prescribes the policies needed for building trust in cyberspace and electronic services, with a view to advancing the information society and achieving socio-economic development.|
2013 Policy Note: Development and Harmonization of Cyber Legislation in the Arab Region
|The purpose of this note is to clarify the importance of cyber legislation in building the Arab knowledge society and to highlight the ESCWA efforts and activities that aim at developing cyber legislation and promoting regional integration. The note also demonstrates the challenges and obstacles of the region in the context of cyber legislation and its implementation. In addition, it includes several recommendations resulting from discussions held during a number of ESCWA workshops.|
2015 Policy Recommendations on Cybersafety and Combating Cybercrime in the Arab Region
|This study provides an analytical overview of the current situation of cybercrime and cybersafety at the regional and international levels and highlights the necessary measures to strengthen and harmonize efforts to combat cybercrime and promote cybersafety. It also proposes a guiding policy framework to enhance cybersecurity and build trust in information and communication technologies and cyberspace. ESCWA encourages Arab Governments to use this framework and adapt it to their national needs.|
National specific strategies
Cyber legislation framework (2012)
E-transactions law (2012)
2018 Arab Regional Dialogue and Experts Meeting on Internet Governance and Cybersecurity Nexus – Promoting Trust in Cyberspace
The meeting held at the UN-House, Beirut, in December 2018 was organized in partnership with the League of Arab States, in preparation for the fifth Arab Internet Governance Forum (IGF) process. The event mainly focused on Internet trust, safety and security issues as well as their linkages with the other strategic priorities of the roadmap mentioned below.
Arab countries represented
|The main outcomes of the meeting included recommendations related to the theme of Cybersecurity and Trust in line with Internet governance priority areas for the Arab region, as stipulated in the Second Arab Roadmap for Internet Governance.|
2014 Capacity Building Workshop on Promoting a Safer Cyberspace in the Arab Region
The main objective of the workshop, held in Muscat, Oman, in December 2014, was to build the capacity of decision-makers in governments and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the Arab region on the procedural framework for implementing cybercrime law, combating cybercrime and enhancing cybersafety. It also addressed regional and international cooperation in support of the implementation of national and regional policies for the promotion of cybersafety in the Arab World.
2012 Seminar on Legal and Regulatory Requirements for a Sustainable Knowledge Society in the Arab Region
The seminar, held in Beirut, Lebanon, in December 2012, focused on setting a sustainable path for cyber legislation in the region to promote competitiveness and economic diversity. Improvements resulting from the enactment of cyber law helped remedy serious problems affecting the economies of the region, namely brain drain, capital drain, unemployment and low productivity.
It also brought together regional and international experts in the field of cyber legislation to show the experience of other regions and to present new features of cyber legislation that fulfil the needs of emerging trends of ICT sector, ICT applications and services.
Programme in a nutshell
Year of creation
Type of business
Policy advicePolicy FormulationTechnical assistance
Number of activities carried out