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[AfriNIC-rpd] Proposal for Policy Development Process in the AfriNIC service region

sm+afrinic at sm+afrinic at
Mon Mar 22 10:46:04 UTC 2010

At 03:06 19-03-10, Vincent Ngundi wrote:
>4. Proposed Way Forward
>There's no need for a NEW policy proposal. Instead, improvements 
>should be made on the current PDP. In this regard, we recommend that 
>the author of the current policy proposal reviews his policy 
>proposal to reflect the same.

The intention of the policy proposal is to encourage a review the 
current policy and enhance it.  I suggest that we focus on a review 
before getting into a discussion about the actual proposal.

On 9th December, 2009, McTim asked [1] "what problem are you trying 
to solve here?"  My answer was that it is in the interest of this 
community to clearly define the parameters of the policy development 
process.  It is also good to know what the process is about and the 
procedures that have been set out to implement the policy.

Graham Beneke asked [2] "how does the proposal differ from the status 
quo?"  Part of my response was a quote in which he said:

  "The consensus at the public policy meeting was that global announcements
   are not a requirement but I think that we do need to clarify the exact
   intent and requirements of our current policies."

That is his view of what had been discussed at a public policy 
meeting.  The consensus he mentioned is not documented anywhere.

On 10th December, 2009, Douglas Onyango mentioned that I was "leaving 
a crack on the house".  AFPUB-2004-GEN-001 may not say much.  Whether 
the quality of the process was better or not is a matter of appreciation.

On 18 January, 2010, Borg Knight asked [3] whether "the proposal 
(should) be an amendment to correct any weaknesses in the existing 
policy.  My answer was "that is the aim of the proposal.  It lists 
which policy is affected.  I suggest that you ask the PDP Moderator 
Group whether that is the correct way to do an amendment".  The 
AfriNIC PDP-MG Chair posted a message two months later [4] about the 
issues raised.

Borg Knight mentioned in another message that 'My concern here is 
this " create a policy development process ..." implies there is 
none in existence. I think it will be more effective if the new 
proposal makes it explicitly clear that it is trying to build and 
modify an existing policy. Sometimes, a structure is so bad the only 
remedy is to tear it down and rebuild it, but this is not one of 
those situations".

On 22 January, 2010, Randy Bush mentioned "your repeated assertion 
that you are inventing policy would be amusing were is not so 
absurd".  J. Walubengo mentioned in a message posted on 22 January, 
2010, that "ave looked at your proposal (AFPUB-2009-GEN-001) and 
within the context of the last AfriNIC meeting in Dakar where some 
Policies were discussed and gaps within the Policy Processes noted".

In my reply, I said that "although the incentive is to fill those 
gaps, it would not be constructive to describe them in the 
document".  I also posted a message stating "As mentioned in the 
Introduction Section, the document describes the AfriNIC Policy 
Development Process.  The principles are not my invention".

I will comment on the implementation of AFPUB-2008-GEN-001 to provide 
some background.

Section 2.0 mentions that the PDP Moderator Group consists of 
three(3) members of the community and describes how long the members 
are nominated.

The latest message (to this mailing list) I could find for the 
selection of the AfriNIC PDP-MG is dated 9 October, 2008.  The PDP-MG 
elections took place near the end of November, 2008.  There hasn't 
been any mention of PDP-MG elections since then.  According to the 
Terms of Reference discussed in Rabat, AfriNIC (the company) is 
responsible for conducting the election of PDP-MG co-chairs.  It is 
up to the community to determine whether the current situation has 
affected the policy development process.

Section 2.3 mentions that the proposed policy is posted on the 
mailing list rpd at  The AfriNIC webpage about policies 
mentions that "to participate, you must subscribe to the policy 
working group mailing list".  A proposal might be discussed on the 
mailing list and at the end (public open policy meeting), objections 
might be raised by people who are not subscribed to the mailing 
list.  If the author of a proposal cannot attend a public open policy 
meeting, is it the responsibility of the PDP-MG co-chairs to see that 
the issues that the author of the proposal has resolved [5] on the 
mailing list are brought to the attention of the people attending the 
public open policy meeting?

In Section 2.5, the note says that "It will be the onus of the MG 
co-chairs to determine whether there is consensus or not".

On 4 December, 2009, Mukom Akong Tamon posted a message on behalf of 
the PDP-MG [6] about the "Outcomes of the Policy discussions at 
AfrINIC-11".  As the PDP-MG co-chairs did not attend that public open 
policy meeting, statements such as "The AfriNIC community agreed, 
through consensus" and "The AfriNIC community did not reach 
consensus" leads to a confusing situation.

Section 2.6 mentions that if there is no consensus, step 2.4 will be 
repeated.  The message posted on behalf of the PDP-MG says "in line 
with the AfriNIC Policy Development Process, the policy proposal will 
be returned to the Resource Policy Discuss (RPD) mailinglist for 
further discussion."  That presumes that that the existing AfriNIC 
Policy Development Process can be followed to determine whether there 
was consensus.

In Section 2.8, it is mentioned that the Moderator Group will send a 
report to the AfriNIC Board of Trustees which should contain a short 
summary of the face to face (f2f) discussions and the recommendation 
of the PDP Moderator Group (MG) to the Board.  As the Moderator Group 
did not attend the last public open policy meeting, it is doubtful 
that they could provide a firsthand summary of the discussions.  I 
don't know whether the Moderator Group provided a recommendation to 
the Board.  Although there was a Last Call, there hasn't been any 
message posted to this mailing list about the outcome.

Section 2.9 mentions that the policy should be ratified by the BoT at 
the subsequent Board Meeting.  According to the Afrinic web site [7], 
the status of AFPUB-2009-ASN-001 is "Awaiting Approval" as at 21 
December 2009.  The guide to the status mentions that After board 
ratifies it (a policy document): Status="Approved".  Either the Board 
has not held any meeting over the last three months or else the 
webpage has not been updated.

In case there are any questions about whether there is a public 
development process and the open public policy meetings in this region:

The first presentation of a policy development process was done at 
AfriNIC-1.  The change from "Board of Trustees" to "Board of 
Directors" was proposed at AfriNIC-1 during the AfriNIC annual general meeting.

There is a record of the public policy meeting for AfriNIC-2.

The report for AfriNIC-3 mentions who led the discussions.  There was 
a proposal from the ITU about "For competitive address space 
allocation".  It may be of interest of the community to know that:

   the proposal "received some comments from the community which questioned
   the involvement of ITU in internet number resource management. It also
   pointed out the fact that country based allocations do not meet the
   internet architecture and routing principles.  Particpants pointed out
   that this proposal will end up increasing the routing table which is not
   acceptable for the smooth operation of Internet."

  "According to him (the chair of the Egyptian Ipv6TF) the proposal was
   only  related to outreah on Ipv6 in Developing countries and NOT for
   ITU to manage Ipv6 address allocation."

The report for AfriNIC-4 mentions the policies approved by the Board.

There aren't any minutes for AfriNIC-5, AfriNIC-6, AfriNIC-7 and AfriNIC-8.

According to the report for AfriNIC-9, the New PDP was accepted by 
community during that meeting and ratified by board in February 2007.

The report for AfriNIC-10 mentions the names of the AfriNIC PDP-MG 
Chair and the two other members.

The minutes for AfriNIC-11 have not been published.

A rough count of participants at two previous meetings shows that 
there were people from 18 countries in the AfriNIC region and 8 
countries outside the region at one meeting and people from 39 
countries in the AfriNIC region and 12 countries outside the region 
at the other meeting. The data for the latest meetings is not 
available.  Participants from 7 countries in the AfriNIC region and 1 
from outside the region discussed this proposal on the mailing 
list.  I don't have the necessary data to determine how many of the 
participants are AfriNIC Members.

Several years ago, a participant from outside the AfriNIC region 
proposed the formal setup for chairing the policy development 
process.  There was a comment about "the broken thing in the process 
was how the discussions was handled".  My reading of the intent of 
the three year, two year, one year terms for the PDP-MG is that if 
"two folks fail", there is still one left to run the process.  That 
failure eventually happened under AFPUB-2008-GEN-001.

The participant also suggested having an appeal process.  As a result 
of the discussions leading to AFPUB-2008-GEN-001, deadlines for the 
Board to ratify a proposal and for AfriNIC to implement it were 
removed.  During the discussions, it was pointed out that the Board 
could take years to ratify a proposal if there wasn't any deadline. 
As a hypothetical case, the AFPUB-2009-v4-003 proposal reduces the 
allocation of IPv4 address to a LIR by half during the Exhaustion 
phase.  If companies with representatives on the Board believe that 
the policy may have a negative impact on their corporate interests, 
they might push for the ratification to be delayed until they have 
been allocated the amount of IPv4 addresses they require.  Before you 
draw any conclusion, I'll point out that a technical discussion might 
highlight whether this is actually a possible issue.

According to the AfriNIC PDP - What, Why, Who & How document 
published by AfriNIC (the company), the community - proposes and 
discusses and decides.  A determination of consensus where 
"moderators will call for vote on each and voting will be by show of 
hands" can be questionable in some circumstances.  There were some 
comments about voting in 2006 and it was mentioned that "policies are 
not a voting matter".

Maybe these policy discussions should be restricted to AfriNIC 
Members, instead of the community, with the Board of Directors 
deciding on what policies the members want.  It may be difficult for 
AfriNIC (the company) to describe such a process as bottom-up for 
developing and modifying policies that guide the use of Internet 
number resources in the AfriNIC region.

What follows may be an incorrect expression of what the persons 
meant.  In an unrelated discussion held in another region this month, 
it was mentioned that groups from developing countries feel that they 
are the ones paying for IPv4 depletion because they have paid higher 
prices for IPv4 so far, and they don't have extra IPv4 in stock and 
that developing countries feel it's very difficult to get their 
concerns heard and understood in the IP resource policy making 
process.  Those groups want governmental involvement in the 
policy-making process.

There has been some talks about a CIR (Country-based Internet 
Registry) model.  CIRs would have equal participation in the policy 
formation and resource distribution so that Internet resource 
distribution and decentralization are more balanced, especially 
within their own countries.

A representative of AfriNIC said:

  "I think this whole question about CIRs bringing IP address management
   close to people by creating more local registries is not really the
   problem. Because I bet to go to many developing countries, government
   websites. Regulatory websites, where you can find as much information
   that are available on the RIR websites."

  "what we have noticed, as I said before, the huge problem comes from
   lack of awareness, lack of understanding of our process, lack of
   understanding of multi-stakeholder bottom-up approach in the policy

One participant mentioned:

  "The ISP community trusts the RIR community to implement policy in a
   participatory, wide-open fashion, not a membership, no requirement,
   any participation is allowed."

Another participant said:

  "the Internet has become what it is today because of open transparent
   bottom-up processes. This has been used in protocols and in management
   policies. Everyone is encouraged to participate. RIR decision-making
   has no barriers to participation. Anyone, including Governments, can
   have their say. This has made transparent by our public archives, the
   decision-making process, mailing lists, video, and meeting transcripts."

AfriNIC (the company) might face some issues if it the policy 
development process was restricted to its members or if it does not 
have an open and transparent process.

There has not been any response to the request [8] I made on 22 
January, 2010 to the AfriNIC Board of Directors.

The representatives of AfriNIC (the company) adopted a constructive 
approach throughout the discussion and have been helpful.  This can 
be verified by reading the archives for this mailing list.

I probably have a lack of understanding of the AfriNIC policy 
development process.  Things might work differently in this 
region.  It would be easier for me to withdraw this proposal instead 
of getting into a discussion that may be considered as politically incorrect.

S. Moonesamy


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