Sri Lanka establishes submarine cable protection framework
Friday, 17 Sep 2021

Sri Lanka establishes submarine cable protection framework

20 July 2021 07:07 am

Sri Lanka has established a submarine cable protection and resilience framework, the Foreign Ministry said.

Sri Lanka is the first country in Asia to come up with such a framework and it would have not been possible, if not for generous support of the Government of Japan through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) – Global Maritime Crimes Programme (GMCP) the Ministry added.

According to the Foreign Ministry, in this new age of lockdowns, remote working and virtual conferences, reliance on global digital communications has grown dramatically, yet most people incorrectly assume that satellites are responsible for sending data.

In reality, more than 99% of all international digital data and communications are transferred via a network of more than 400 cables, which span a distance of more than 1.8 million kilometres across the world’s oceans,” the Foreign Ministry disclosed.

The International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) estimates that internet traffic increased between 25% and 50% between November 2019 and the early stages of lockdown in April 2020, and this will likely continue as it adapts to the “new-normal”.

Zoom Video Communications revenue for the quarter ending on 31 July, 2020 saw a 355% increase compared to the previous year. 

This is just one indication of the increased video conferencing occurring as a result of widespread remote work, remote education, and remote personal video communications, Foreign Ministry revealed. 

Foreign Secretary Admiral Professor Jayanath Colombage highlighted that Sri Lanka has been working with international partners such as UNODC’s Global Maritime Crime Programme (GMCP) and the International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) in order to develop a National Plan on Submarine Cables.

The aim is to provide protection and resilience for Sri Lanka having understood the threats and responsibilities of having several cables running through its jurisdiction, he added. 

Programme Coordinator of UNODC – GMCP Kaitlin Meredith made reference to the UN General Assembly Resolution (A/RES/73/124, 31 December, 2018) which highlights the responsibility of States, whose economies and societies are served by these cables, to contribute to the protection of cables, under international law.

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