Critical Infrastructure Digitalization and Resilience (CIDR) Program Wins USAID “Digi” Award


The Critical Infrastructure Digitalization and Resilience (CIDR) program, in which PMCG is engaged as a subcontractor of DAI, has been named among the winners at the 2023 USAID Digital Development Awards.

Known as the “Digis,” the awards are given to USAID missions, bureaus, and implementing partners in recognition of their contributions to nations and communities in the pursuit of sustainable development and resilience.

Only five such awards were announced for 2023, with the USAID/Bureau for Europe and Eurasia being acknowledged for the CIDR program. In particular, it strengthens cybersecurity ecosystems by enhancing the capacity of key stakeholders to safeguard critical infrastructure and increase their preparedness for cyberattacks.

Countering Cyber Threats to Critical Infrastructure Across Eastern Europe

PMCG, as a subcontractor of DAI, has specifically been working devotedly in Georgia and North Macedonia to boost the resilience of critical infrastructure.

More broadly, the CIDR program has set out to counter the accelerating trend of diverse and intricate cyber threats affecting critical infrastructure in various Eastern European countries. Initially, these nations included Kosovo, Moldova, and North Macedonia, where critical infrastructure cybersecurity working groups were established. Of note, these groups comprise leading government figures and CIDR country team members, and adhere to “road maps” to bolster national cybersecurity.

Latterly, Albania, Georgia, Montenegro, and Serbia have been added to the program’s portfolio.

Having identified market needs through research, the CIDR is developing cyber workforces across the targeted countries. Specifically, this has entailed updating cyber curricula in a gender-sensitive manner, providing trainings of trainers in universities and vocational education institutions, and boosting women’s employment in cybersecurity.

Among the many reasons cited by USAID for the CIDR program winning a Digi were that it had strengthened cybersecurity governance through cooperating with a broad array of government agencies, public and private sector bodies, and civil society organizations.

Bolstering Cybersecurity by Revising Laws, Devising Strategies, and Crafting Action Plans

Notably, the program has already contributed to the entering into force of the Cybersecurity Law in Kosovo in March 2023, paving the way for the recently-launched Cyber Security Agency.    

The program has helped to stave off cyberattacks during local government elections in Moldova, and engaged in the revision of a draft national cybersecurity strategy and action plan for North Macedonia in line with the EU’s NIS 2 Directive.

“Given the intensification of hybrid warfare, especially in Eastern Europe, strengthening the resilience of critical infrastructure not only ensures the continuous functioning of key services, but also enhances national security and fosters regional stability amidst evolving cyber threats. The attainment of the USAID 2023 Digital Development Award serves as evidence of the successful implementation of this activity,”

said Giorgi Iashvili, Senior Cybersecurity Consultant at PMCG.

Other winners at the 2023 Digis were USAID/Cambodia for the Digital Workforce Development Activity, USAID/Global Health/Office of Population and Reproductive Health & USAID/India for the Game of Choice, Not Chance Initiative, USAID/Moldova for the Future Technologies Activity, and USAID/Zimbabwe for the Target, Accelerate, and Sustain Quality Care for HIV Epidemic Control Program.

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