UNICC Launches the Cybersecurity Fund for the UN System

The Fund will help bolster cyber-resilience across United Nations system organizations

25 April, 2024

Photo: UNICC/Remedio

On April 22, 2024, the United Nations International Computing Centre (UNICC) introduced a Cybersecurity Fund for the UN System. The official launch took place in the Palais des Nations during an event co-hosted with the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations in Geneva.

The UNICC Cybersecurity Fund (CSF) is a direct action to address the recommendations made by the UN Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) in its report “Cybersecurity in the United Nations system organizations.” The JIU recommended establishing a fund to complement UNICC’s capacity to design, develop, and offer shared services and solutions to enhance the UN cybersecurity posture. Therefore, the CSF is expected to be supported by voluntary contributions from governments in order to provide a dedicated stream of funding for critical cybersecurity functions.

The establishment of this complementary funding instrument becomes crucial in the context of a rise in sophisticated cyberthreats targeting the UN system, which have been detected by UNICC in recent years. As UN agencies regularly experience interrelated cyberattacks and engage in similar response mechanisms, the CSF is a unique opportunity to consolidate a robust and unified cybersecurity response among the UN family. The Fund will allow UNICC to design, develop, deploy, and support core cybersecurity solutions that benefit multiple agencies, avoiding duplication and streamlining resources.  

We are convinced of the crucial need to develop a baseline defense for the UN system to prevent and mitigate cyberattacks, protecting UN data and digital assets in the most comprehensive way possible. The UNICC Cybersecurity Fund itself represents an innovation to consolidate a unified response and is a historic milestone for our organization.

Sameer Chauhan, Director of UNICC
Photo: UNICC/Remedio

Representatives of UN entities, diplomatic missions and governments, and technical cybersecurity experts attended the event launch of the CSF.  The session featured keynote remarks from Ambassador Jürg Lauber, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the UN Office in Geneva; Ambassador Marc Bichler, Permanent Representative of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to the UN Office and other international organizations in Geneva; Ambassador Aurora Díaz-Rato Revuelta, Permanent Representative of Spain to the UN Office and other international organizations in Geneva; Ambassador, Arindam Bagchi Permanent Representative of India to the UN Office and other international organizations in Geneva; Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunications Union; Fabrice Boudou, Chief Information Officer of the World Trade Organization and Chair of the UNICC Management Committee; Carolina Fernández Opazo, Chair of the Joint Inspection Unit of the United Nations System; Sameer Chauhan, UNICC Director; and Tima Soni, Chief of the Cybersecurity Division at UNICC.

“The launch of the UNICC Cybersecurity Fund really couldn’t be timelier. We are excited to continue with UNICC on this journey and forge a trusted, innovative cyber-resilience effort to support the whole UN system.” pointed out the ITU Secretary-General, Doreen Bogdan-Martin. “Together, we can build a universally available, open, secure and trustworthy digital ecosystem within the United Nations,” Bogdan-Martin concluded.

Photo: UNICC/Remedio

UNICC has been acting as the primary provider of shared cybersecurity services to UN organizations. The Centre is intimately familiar with the system’s needs and requirements and manages a cybersecurity service catalogue of over two dozen cybersecurity services used by more than 60 UN organizations, agencies, and entities. With over 200 cybersecurity practitioners and over 50 years of experience as a key strategic technology partner, the CSF will transform UNICC into a greater hub for cybersecurity expertise and solutions.

With UNICC, the Cybersecurity Fund is in good hands, and we hope it will receive all the deserved support to increase the resilience of the UN system.

Ambassador Jürg Lauber, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the UN Office in Geneva