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Cybersecurity, sustainability are two sides of the same coin, says Cyber Security Council chief

Cybersecurity, sustainability are two sides of the same coin, says Cyber Security Council chief
1 Nov 2023 09:34

Abu Dhabi (Aletihad) - Cybersecurity and environmental sustainability are two sides of the same coin, each relying upon the other to achieve a more secure and sustainable future, said Dr. Mohamed Hamad Al Kuwaiti, Head of the Cyber Security Council for the UAE Government.

Cybersecurity is important in facilitating the decision-making process and formulating sustainable policies, Al Kuwaiti explained while speaking during a panel session titled “Climate Sustainability and Cybersecurity”, held within the Arab Youth Technical Fellowship Programme affiliated with the Arab Youth Centre.

The panel focused on the UAE as a living model of sustainability. Dr. Al Kuwaiti detailed the UAE’s sustainability initiatives, which include the UAE’s Green Growth Strategy, the Masdar City project, the UAE’s Energy 2050 Strategy, and the Renewable Energy Initiative.

The session brought together members of the third edition of the Arab Youth Technical Fellowship Programme, recently launched by the Arab Youth Centre, featuring 30 young men and women participants from 12 Arab countries. The programme aims to empower participants with artificial intelligence skills and knowledge of the digital economy. The programme’s three key pillars focus on technology, sustainability, and climate change, as the UAE prepares to host the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) at the end of November.

Dr. Al Kuwaiti highlighted the concept, goals, and challenges of environmental sustainability, noting that the world faces significant challenges in this field, such as climate change, natural disasters, and resource scarcity, which require a holistic approach that manages natural, economic, and social resources sustainably in the long term.

The goal, Dr. Al Kuwaiti explained, is to achieve sustainable development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. He emphasised the importance of enhancing climate sustainability by improving public health, reducing pollution and disease spread, achieving social justice, ensuring everyone has access to natural resources, creating new job opportunities in green sectors, ensuring a better future for future generations, promoting economic growth, creating new investment opportunities, improving efficiency, and protecting our planet from the devastating effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels and changing weather patterns.

He added that sustainability issues encompass economic, social, and security challenges. Addressing the economic challenges, Dr. Al Kuwaiti explained that this requires a transition to a sustainable economy and significant investments in renewable energy, sustainable transportation, and green infrastructure.

Low- and middle-income countries may suffer from the consequences of climate change, which could result in recurring natural disasters and a subsequent decrease in foreign direct investment and hinderances for future investments. He explained that the inequality in the ramifications of climate change, which disproportionately affect the world’s poorest and most vulnerable groups.

These climate change-driven inequities lead to a decline in quality of life, mass migration, and conflicts and disputes, all of which contribute to economic challenges. Turning to security challenges, Dr. Al Kuwaiti outlined four specific issues, including the misuse of media to mislead the public about climate change, reliance on green infrastructure on digital technology - making it vulnerable to cyber threats, the use of information related to climate change to manipulate public opinion or destabilise governments, and the utilisation of climate change as a pretence for cyber criminals to attack systems and networks related to climate sustainability.

Dr. Al Kuwaiti touched on cybersecurity laws and regulations, and the UAE’s efforts to develop various policies to manage the cybersecurity of emerging technology. He also referred to the Cyber Pulse initiative, which aims to improve cybersecurity standards and practices in the UAE, protect digital infrastructure, create a safe and robust digital environment that enables individuals and institutions to safely use modern technology.

Regarding the strategy to enhance digital climate security, Dr. Al Kuwaiti mentioned the importance of ensuring that industrial sector devices comply with security policies to ensure that digital systems are protected from cyber attacks.

This involves verifying the validity and control of the protection of electronic systems for cars and communication networks, checking the validity and controls for the protection of renewable energy systems and their infrastructure, providing a secure supply chain to identify and manage the security risks of infrastructure, and activating systems to track and monitor carbon emissions.

The session concluded by highlighting the importance of concerted efforts and harnessing potential to support cybersecurity solutions, which contribute to providing a better world for future generations, offer flexible solutions, and accelerate progress towards climate action, sustainability, and combating climate change.

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