The Deputy Minister of Digital Agenda of the Ministry of the Presidency (Minpre), José David Montilla, participated in the panel entitled “The European Union and the Americas: Opportunities to increase cyber and digital cooperation”, held at the LATAM Cisco 2023, in Madrid, Spain, the most important meeting of the cybersecurity ecosystem in the technology industry.
During his speech, the official said that international cooperation has been key to the digital and cybersecurity development of the Dominican Republic, receiving the support of multiple countries, such as Estonia with its XRoad platform, which has contributed significantly to the interoperability of public services in the framework of the Digital Agenda 2030 and its Zero Bureaucracy program. Likewise, through the European Union’s Cybernet program, the Regional Cybersecurity Education and Training Center for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC4) was installed in the country, among other milestones.
“Likewise, as part of the strengthening of relations between nations, our country led the construction of the Ibero-American Charter of Principles and Rights in Digital Environments, which serves as a frame of reference to work on digital issues focused on the protection of people’s rights,” he said.
Deputy Minister Montilla assured that the political will of the President, Luis Abinader and the Minister of the Presidency, Joel Santos Echavarría, has been the firm basis that has allowed the country to exhibit important advances in innovation, digital transformation, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, issues coordinated by the Cabinet of Innovation and Digital Development, in charge of the Vice-Ministry of Digital Agenda of the Minpre.
Referring to the initiatives that could improve the capabilities of countries to face cyber threats to governments, companies and individuals, the official specified that they would be those of political interest on the digital agenda, cybersecurity and governance and institutional maturity.
On the other hand, he mentioned that one element he has identified as the weakest link slowing down or slowing down the implementation of cybersecurity strategies has been the shortage of cybersecurity skills and the lack of qualified professionals in the area.
“It is still the same 85% of cybersecurity breaches caused by human error and the demand for specialized talent exceeds the available supply,” he highlighted.
In this sense, Montilla recommended that with the support of the European Union, just as the Digital Competencies Framework was created, a joint exercise should be carried out to create a Cybersecurity Competencies Framework, where skills and competencies are developed by levels; that schools and basic schools, technical institutes, universities and training organizations can take it as a starting point for the design of their curricula.
“In addition, let’s make a commitment to increase investment in training, so that we can implement the Cybersecurity Competency Framework training program. I mean that governments should prioritize in their investment policies and cooperation chapters, the implementation of the necessary training programs to raise the level of competencies and skills, both basic for the general population and specialized for professionals, so that they can effectively identify, prevent and mitigate cyber threats,” he concluded.
The panel included the participation of Felix Fernandez-Shaw, head of Latin America, the Caribbean and relations with all overseas countries and territories at the Directorate General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA); Paula Bogantes, Minister of Science, Innovation, Technology and Telecommunications of Costa Rica; Daniel Alvarez, National Coordinator of Cybersecurity in Chile, and Liina Areng, EU CyberNet project manager (moderator).
The meeting was also attended by the Minister of the Presidency of Costa Rica, Natalia Díaz Quintana.