The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) has partnered with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to complete the implementation of the Child Online Protection initiative in six African countries before it is rolled out more broadly throughout the continent.

The COP initiative will be rolled out in Cameroon, The Gambia, Ghana, Mauritius, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, as a result of plans finalized during the CTO's third Commonwealth Cybersecurity Forum, which ended in Cameroon Friday.

COP was established as an international collaborative network for action to promote the online protection of children worldwide in conjunction with U.N. agencies and partners. It was launched in the wake of the ITU's Global Cybersecurity Agenda, which seeks to ensure safety and security in online environments to afford children the opportunity to benefit fully from the ICT revolution.

With little or no monitoring mechanisms in place in African countries, COP is expected to tackle cybersecurity by addressing legal, technical, organizational and procedural issues as well as capacity building and international cooperation. It was launched in Mauritius in October last year, and after it is rolled out to the initial set of six countries, it will be implemented across Africa by April 2014.

Some of the key topics discussed this week at the forum include how a global approach to cybersecurity can assure the safety, security and resilience of cyberspace; the implications of Critical Information Infrastructure Protection for developing countries as facilitated by Microsoft and the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST); and the impact of Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) on cybersecurity in Africa.

At a special briefing session jointly organized by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the CTO on Wednesday, Commonwealth parliamentarians examined international and regional best practices on key legal aspects of electronic commerce with a view to understand how to deliver their mandate effectively. They recommended improved cooperation between Commonwealth organizations such as the CTO and CPA with other relevant organizations such as UNCTAD, ITU and Interpol, leading to transborder cooperation on cybersecurity based on international treaties.