Cyber Diplomacy and Cyber Foreign Policy

With societies increasingly digitizing, cybersecurity becomes a focal point of their foreign and security policy. Since the challenges and threats in this field are global and constantly growing, international dialogue is more important than ever. However, current cyber diplomacy efforts are mostly in a stalemate. Despite efforts, at the level of the United Nations (UN), for example, to advance cooperation or at least coordinate on cybersecurity issues, progress is minimal. Increasingly, cyber diplomacy fails to deliver in the face of pressing problems. Therefore, SNV’s International Cybersecurity Policy Team addresses the question of what an effective and forward-looking cyber diplomacy could look like.

By cyber diplomacy, we mean international dialogue, coordination, and cooperation with the goal of solving cybersecurity policy problems. International organizations like the UN and formats such as the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) play a significant role. At the same time, it is also crucial to include non-state actors – from the private sector, academia, and civil society – in so-called multi-stakeholder formats, as is done, for instance, in initiatives such as the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace.

While the term cyber diplomacy refers to an international perspective – encompassing all actors dealing with cyber security problems at the international level – the concept of cyber foreign policy relates to the international activities of individual states. The European Union (EU) plays a special role in Germany’s cyber foreign policy.

The project “Pathways to Implementation – From Cyber Diplomacy Commitments To National Policies” is dedicated to developing concrete proposals on how cyber diplomacy commitments like the elevent UN cyber norms can be translated into national policies. Currently, this project focuses on the role of governments in increasing the security software supply chains and which opportunities for international cooperation this area holds. Over the course of this project, we also follow developments around the UN Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) on cybersecurity. This project is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.

As part of the project “The Cyber Normative Power of the Factual – Cyber Diplomacy and State Practice”, we investigate how states - through their actions - shape normative ideas about the use of information and communication technologies by states. We analyze how states publicly attribute cyber operations to their perpetrators (so-called direct political attribution). Our objective is to find out which normative ideas these state practices express and are meant to disseminate. The project is funded by the German Foundation for Peace Research (DSF) in conjunction with a grant from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Description of the project “The Cyber Normative Power of the Factual – Cyber Diplomacy and State Practice” on the website of the German Foundation for Peace Research


Cyber Diplomacy Working Groups

We regularly initiate cyber diplomacy working groups for individual topics. These working groups conduct analyses and develop recommendations for action, which are published as SNV policy papers.

Government’s Role in Increasing Software Supply Chain Security (2022-2023)



Laura K. Bate Georgetown University
Anne Bertucio Google
Mary Brooks Wilson Center
Madeline Carr University College London
Sonia Compans European Telecommunications Standards Institute
Philip Engelmartin SAP
Allan Friedman  
Hans Gabriel  
Sven Herpig Stiftung Neue Verantwortung
Trey Herr Atlantic Council
Stefan Hessel Reuschlaw legal consultants
Bart Hogeveen Australian Strategic Policy Institute
Camino Kavanagh King’s College London
So Jeong Kim Institute for National Security Strategy
Andreas Kuehn Observer Research Foundation
Lim May-Ann Fair Tech Institute
Neno Malisevic Microsoft
Jiro Minier DCSO
Volker Roth Freie Universität Berlin
Stefan Saatmann Siemens
Tara Tarakiyee Sovereign Tech Fund
Udbhav Tiwari Mozilla
Kaylin Trychon Chainguard
Benjamin Wuebbelt Bird&Bird
Chris Wysopal Veracode


Cyber Norms on Attribution (2022-2023)



Greg Austin International Institute for Strategic Studies
Rebecca Beigel Stiftung Neue Verantwortung
Isabella Brunner University of Vienna (PhD researcher)
Kristen Eichensehr University of Virginia
Garett Hinck Columbia University (PhD researcher)
Ken Katayama  
Henning Lahmann Leiden University
Jiro Minier DCSO
Dai Mochinaga Shibaura Institute of Technology
Takashi Seto National Institute for Defense Studies Japan
Wilhelm Vosse International Christian University Tokyo
Kerstin Zettl-Schabath University of Heidelberg