BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Sept. 29, 2022
On Thursday, stakeholders gathered at the Belize Biltmore Plaza to discuss the development of an action plan for the implementation of the National Cybersecurity Strategy over the course of the next six months. The strategy, which was first launched in November 2020, is aimed at addressing cybersecurity threats and challenges faced by Belize in order to increase preparedness for, and responsiveness to, these threats.
Since the National Cybersecurity Strategy 2020 – 2023 was launched two years ago, there has been some progress in securing cyberspace within the country. The passing of a Cybercrime Act and the establishment of a digital forensic laboratory are two examples of that progress. As 2023 fast approaches, however, there is still much work to be done.
During the forum, stakeholders discussed the potential areas of priority within the strategy as well as the actionable steps that can be taken to tackle those priority areas.
During his opening remarks, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries, Hon. Kareem Musa, noted that Belize’s connectivity and dependence on internet-based platforms has grown exponentially over the past ten years, and even more so as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As you would notice over the past few years, cybercrime is becoming more and more of a priority, not just for Belize but across the world. We see cyber-attacks happening all over, especially in our region; some countries [and] some parliaments have been breached and it takes so many different forms, because we are living now in a new digitalized era – the Metaverse, so to speak. And with all the opportunities that come with being a part of this new revolution, there are also vulnerabilities, also a risk, [and] breaches that can take place, and so this is very important for us as a government and as a ministry to engage with all the relevant stakeholders; the private sector, the NGOs, the DPP’s office, because what it means is that we have to have a collective strategy and approach to fight cybercrime wherever it occurs,” said Minister Musa.
The National Cybersecurity Strategy is the Government’s response to growing incidences of cybercrimes and increased threats to cybersecurity throughout the region. The development of the strategy, said Minister Musa, was not only timely but necessary.