3rd Europe-Australia 1.5 track Cybersecurity Dialogue - Session 1

‘Cybersecurity in Crisis Times - A Way Forward for Europe and Australia’

A Virtual Discussion Series in Three Parts The annual KAS Australia-Europe 1.5 track Cybersecurity Dialogue, this year already in its third iteration, aims to bring together senior government representatives, policy makers, academic experts, practitioners and members of the diplomatic corps to share their views, develop better understandings and explore how cooperation could be strengthened. Usually, this is achieved through a combination of roundtables, an in-depth seminar and meetings at various relevant institutions and ministries, as well as the respective federal, state and EU Parliaments – alternating between Canberra/Sydney and Berlin/Brussels as locations.


This year’s dialogue will take place in a slightly altered, virtual format – the overarching theme of ‘Cybersecurity in Crisis Times- A Way Forward for Europe and Australia’ will be addressed through three separate interactive discussion sessions with speakers from Europe and Australia.


The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted not only the interconnectedness of the world but also the associated vulnerabilities. This requires us to look at how we manage global interdependence, particularly in the area of cyberspace, as a politically contested space shaped by hyper-connectivity and lack of overarching global governance. The topic for the entire dialogue/discussion series hence centres around multilateral and multi-stakeholder engagement and the potential for increasing cooperation as the COVID-19 pandemic has widened the attack surface for cyber operations. While this first discussion in the series will focus on global cyber norms, subsequent sessions (one later in August and one in September) will respectively be dedicated to joint responses to large-scale cyber incidents and the EU approach as well as AI governance.

We are supported in the organization by three experts from the Stiftung Neue Verantwortung – a Berlin think tank at the intersection of technology and society – who will chair these sessions.


This event will be held under Chatham House Rule (not open to the public). Experts are invited to these discussions as part of a selected group to allow for the opportunity to actively engage and share insights.



Session One


The opening discussion will be on ‘Covid-19 and the road to global cyber norms: The case of banning cyber operations against public health infrastructures’.


Input speakers from the European and Australian side are:

Ms Johanna Weaver, Head of the Australian delegation to the UN Open-ended Working Group on cyber norms, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade,

Mr Wolfram von Heynitz, Head of the Cyber Policy Coordination Staff, German Federal Foreign Office

Mr Lukasz Olejnik, independent adviser and researcher

Mr Bart Hogeveen, Head of Cyber Capacity building, International Cyber Policy Centre, Australian Strategic Policy Institute


The session will be chaired by Alexandra Paulus from the Stiftung Neue Verantwortung (SNV)


Thematic Overview: Following multiple cyber operations targeting public health infrastructures, various groups of states and non-state actors condemned such attacks and even advanced concrete proposals for establishing a norm banning cyber operations against public health infrastructures. This case study raises interesting questions and implications regarding the process of establishing global cyber norms at the United Nations and beyond.  For example, what steps would be necessary to make such a norm sufficiently robust? How is this relevant for European-Australian cooperation in this matter?

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Katja Theodorakis