Cybersecurity as a development issue

Living in an interconnected world renders us more fragile than we have ever been. Everything depends on energy, transportation, and communication. The challenges faced by nations, cities and communities are numerous as they are complex. More than that, these challenges interlink and form cascading effects that increasingly go beyond the capabilities of any single actor. As emerging technologies continue to rapidly impact our societies, businesses, and economies, this issue will become of more and more importance.

Without a response to cyber threats, advances in other domains, including those towards the Agenda 2030 goals, remain susceptible. Yet, at present, governments – especially those of developing countries - have shown a limited ability to deal with the cascading effects of the specific challenges in catastrophes and crises in which cyber space is deeply embedded. While substantial work on cyber resilience is done by the United Nations, the efforts remain fragmented with no central place for coordination, access and knowledge exchange.

Building a strategic response

Conversely, the International Telecommunication Union’s Cyber Security Index shows large deficits across many countries, predominately in the developing world, when it comes to preparing for the cyber threat. Similarly, efforts for protecting cyberspace often don’t transcend the IT-departments and don’t benefit from a strategic approach.

A comprehensive learning strategy for cyber resilience enables countries and organizations to systematically identify gaps and take respective measures while leveraging existing initiatives and programmes. Today, awareness, knowledge and skills are often bottlenecks in this regard that must be overcome.

While there is a consensus of the emerging global cyber challenges, even basic concepts are often not understood. Insufficient understanding of the nature of risks, their causes and solutions are barriers to developing strategic responses that are critical to building resilience in cyber space and advancing towards a successful 2030 Agenda.


To shape understanding and create awareness of cyber resilience, to promote the development and application of common and integrated learning material, to facilitate the coordination among stakeholders and to support a strategic approach towards building cyber resilience on the country-level with a particular focus on developing nations.


UN Cyber:Learn plans to achieve the following key objectives:

  1. To drive awareness and action in support of achieving cybersecurity and technology related SDGs and targets by 2030

  2. To help government officials and stakeholders to identify priorities and opportunities related to cybersecurity and emerging technologies in cities

  3. To support cities and organizations to institutionalize cybersecurity and emerging technology related learning in a strategic fashion

In pursuing these objectives, emphasis is laid on making use of existing materials and initiatives of the UN system and partners to avoid duplication and fragmentation.