- UK Prime Minister Theresa May joined Canada’s Justin Trudeau, New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern and Australia’s Malcolm Turnbull for intelligence partners meeting
- Commonwealth leaders and delegates welcomed to Nova South by GCHQ Director Jeremy Fleming and NCSC Chief Executive Ciaran Martin
- Announcement of largest inter-governmental commitment on cyber security cooperation announced during the visit
A commitment to improve international cyber security was made during four heads of states’ visit to the National Cyber Security Centre’s London headquarters yesterday (18 April).
GCHQ Director Jeremy Fleming hosted the Prime Ministers from the UK (Theresa May), Canada (Justin Trudeau), New Zealand (Jacinda Ardern) and Australia (Malcolm Turnbull) at Nova South, where the leaders were also briefed by NCSC Chief Executive Ciaran Martin.
The visit was part of the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), during which UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced up to £15million over the next three years to help Commonwealth countries strengthen their cyber security capabilities.
The four heads of state visited the National Cyber Security Centre for a high-level briefing on what the new wing of GCHQ is doing to make the UK the safest place to live and do business online.
NCSC Chief Executive Ciaran Martin said:
“The National Cyber Security Centre was delighted to host and brief four of the world’s most influential politicians, who all share our vision of making the world as safe as possible from cyber threats.
“The NCSC is absolutely committed to improving cyber defences throughout the Commonwealth by learning and sharing information about the attacks we are facing.
“We look forward to continuing our work with Commonwealth countries on the common threats and global challenges we share.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“Cyber security affects us all, as online crime does not respect international borders.
“I have called on Commonwealth leaders to take action and to work collectively to tackle this threat. Our package of funding will enable members to review their cyber security capability and deliver the stability and resilience that we all need to stay safe online and grow our digital economies.
“The Commonwealth plays a pivotal role in shaping the future for many of its members. We have put security on the agenda for the first time, so we can work together and build a safer future both for Britain, and for the 2.4 billion people around the world who live in the Commonwealth.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said:
"There are folks out there in the world, countries out there in the world who do not share our values and our approach to freedoms and mostly the rules-based order.
"So the importance of like-minded friends and partners like us four to stand together provides a response and a solidarity that is a clear message to those around the world who do not play by the same rules."
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said:
“There is no doubt we broadly face common security challenges, challenges that do not respect borders or boundaries and we all benefit from a collective rules-based approach so I welcome the opportunity for us to sit down together and as nations with shared values and discuss how we can make sure how best they are enforced.”
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said:
“The message has to be sent by nations in solidarity that this type of illegal conduct, whether it is a chemical attack in Syria, the use of a nerve agent on British soil or the expanding cyber attacks across the internet, across the whole digital domain on which all of our businesses and economies depend.
“These must be resisted, they must be protected and they must be identified, and we must do everything we can to make our countries, our citizens secure against them.”
£5.5 million of the package will enable low and middle-income Commonwealth members to carry out national cyber security capacity reviews before the next CHOGM in 2020.
It will underpin projects across the Commonwealth to provide technical assistance, training and advice to address a wide range of cyber security and cyber crime threats.
Notes to editors
The £15 million package was announced on the eve of the formal Heads of Government Meeting where leaders are expected to agree the ‘Commonwealth Cyber Declaration’, the world’s largest and most geographically diverse inter-governmental commitment on cyber security cooperation.
The declaration sets out for the first time a common vision for ensuring the internet remains free and open across the Commonwealth.
It will commit members to raising national levels of cyber security and increased cooperation to counter those who seek to undermine our values, security, even the integrity of elections.
The new funding will support Commonwealth partners as they prevent and respond to cyber security risks affecting governments, businesses and citizens.