Since early 2020 the effects of COVID-19 have transformed the everyday lives of our citizens and businesses. This rapid transformation has challenged everyone to adapt to new, digital ways of doing business, learning and accessing public authorities.
In 2022 the war in Ukraine has affected the world – including the digital sphere – in unforeseen ways. The intentional destruction of infrastructure in Ukraine, including digital infrastructure, illustrates the need for resilience in communication networks in order to prevent the risk of regions being isolated. It also demonstrates how important it is that we can rely on our communication networks to ensure availability and continuity of essential services for our citizens. In addition to the cyber-attacks in Ukraine, we have also seen a growing trend of organized cyber-crime on an international level. Therefore, a high level of security in the digital services that our societies rely on, has become increasingly important.
We, the Nordic and Baltic ministers of digitalisation, have committed to ensuring that our region maintains its position as a leader in digitalisation, and that everyone in the region benefit from digitalisation regardless of age, wealth, education or level of digital skills.
One important factor that helps ensure a strong level of digitalisation in the region is the trust citizens put in digital services from the public sector – be it at regional, national or local level. In order to keep up this high level of trust, we need to continue our efforts to make our digital public services human centric and accessible. Moreover, we need to focus on making our communications infrastructure, digital services and data secure. Robust and secure digital services, safeguarding users' privacy and ensuring that personal data are stored and processed in a trustworthy way, are crucial to the citizens' sustained trust in digital services.
We, the Nordic and Baltic ministers of digitalisation, find it valuable to cooperate and exchange information and experiences in order to ensure reliable digital infrastructures, as well as necessary competence and capacity to recognise and deal with cyber incidents or attacks.
This type of cooperation is vital to achieving resilience in information management and digital security. No sectors, and few, if any, states, can manage their digital risks and vulnerabilities alone. We, the Nordic and Baltic ministers for digitalisation, therefore want to ensure that our cooperation in the digital field also extends to digital security, in particular in digital public services. Our region staying at the forefront of digitalisation is contingent on a high level of cyber- and information security.