The Organization of American States (OAS) says it has concluded a two-day event in Kingston with the government of Jamaica during which a draft of Jamaica’s National Cyber Security Strategy was presented and discussed publicly for the first time.

The OAS said on Tuesday that its Cyber Security Program at the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE), in collaboration with the Jamaican Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (MSTEM), held on Monday a validation workshop for the development and adoption of the strategy.

This workshop was followed by a technical training conducted with the support of experts from Microsoft under the framework of a cooperative agreement established with the OAS early this year, the OAS said.

It said the workshops here was part of a larger cyber security initiative that is financed by the governments of Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.

On the first day of the event, the OAS and its counterparts in the Jamaican government presented for the first time the National Strategy, the statement said.

“Although it is still pending official approval and adoption by the government of Jamaica, stakeholders in attendance had the chance to ask questions and make recommendations to the strategy and its adoption and implementation processes,” the OAS said.

In addition, it said experts from the Commonwealth Secretariat Cyber Crime Initiative, the UKTI Defense and Security Organization, Microsoft, and the Oxford University Cyber Security Centre provided guidance and support on the implementation phases of national cyber security strategies.

The draft Strategy outlines several areas of focus for the country, including technical capacity building, awareness raising, cyber incident response and legislative considerations, the OAS said.

It also speaks to the development of a detailed implementation plan by the National Cyber Security Task Force.

The OAS said this workshop continues work begun by OAS/CICTE in March 2014 on Jamaica’s Cyber Security Strategy.

In the previous event, which convened stakeholders from more than 20 public and private entities in Jamaica, the OAS presented on the importance of cyber strategies, showcased a selection of strategies from around the world, and helped Jamaica define the pillars that would form the basis of its strategy.

The OAS said its methodology on developing national cyber security strategies has been recognized and supported by the Governments of Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom as “particularly effective in helping member states enact comprehensive cyber policy.”

Following the September mission, the OAS said the strategy will undergo a final review process internal to the Government of Jamaica.

After all relevant ministries and departments have had a chance to comment and provide feedback, it will pass through a formal adoption process, ending with Cabinet approval, the OAS said.

“OAS is wholeheartedly supporting the development of the National Cyber Security Strategy in Jamaica, and we hope that this effort could be adopted at the highest levels of the State soon”, said OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza.

Insulza said once the Strategy is adopted, “the real challenge will be the implementation process, where support from relevant national and international stakeholders will be required.”

He said the OAS is committed to continue supporting Jamaica’s efforts on cyber security issues, inviting donor countries and the international community to increase their support to the OAS Program and to the government of Jamaica for protecting its cyberspace.

“The success for implementing any strategy has a direct link with the availability of human and financial resources,” said MSTEM Minister of State Julian Robinson.

“Jamaica would not have been able to get this far in the process without the assistance of our partners,” he added. “The commitment of OAS-CICTE to this process has not just been for the drafting of the Strategy but also to the implementation.

“We recognize that skills to combat cyber crime are limited, but we are pleased to have accessibility to capacity building which is being offered by our partners,” Robinson continued.

To date, the OAS said the program has worked closely with 19 member-states to adopt and improve their national Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs).

In addition to its recent work with Jamaica, the OAS said it has helped Colombia, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago to draft and adopt their national cyber security strategies.

It said almost 40 countries around the world have already adopted national cyber security strategies, five of which are in the OAS region.

Besides Jamaica and the other countries mentioned earlier, the OAS said it has initiated the national strategy development process with Dominica, the Bahamas and Peru.

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