Status: Under Discussion
Komi Abel Elitcha
Arnaud A. A. AMELINA
Honest Ornella GANKPA
Alain P. AINA
Obsoletes: 3.0 - The Policy Development Process (PDP) of
29 October 2018
1. Summary of the Problem being addressed by this Policy Proposal
Policies for managing IP number resources in the AFRINIC service region are created through a Policy Development Process which describes the steps through which policy proposals are submitted, considered, debated and adopted.
- The current consolidated policy manual 2016 does not have provision for proposal adoption, which induces duplication of proposals dealing with same problems, lack of clarity of problem statements and proposals out of scope of the PDP. It also does not define clear method for moving proposals forward.
- The consensus process for decision-making is not defined, opening doors for interpretations and inactions.
- The current PDP does not have provision for board adopting policies as per section 11.4 of the AFRINIC constitution in the varying of the process
2. How this proposal addresses the problem
This Policy proposal addresses these issues by:
- Detailing the consensus process with regard to major and minor objections and responsibility of the Chairs of the working group in gauging the consensus
- Providing with different phases for policy proposals: from adoption till last call and ratification by the AFRINIC board of Directors
- Providing provision on how board adopts policy as per section 11.4 of the constitution that is managed in varying the PDP
Article 3.0 of the CPM will be replaced as follows:
3. Policy Development Process
The Policy Development Process covers the development and modification of policies for a proper and responsible usage and management of Internet Number Resources within the AFRINIC service region and is shaped to come up with clear, technically effective and useful policies. Internet number resources consist of Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) address space, Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) address space, and Autonomous System (AS) numbers.
All policies are developed by the Internet community following four principles: openness, transparency, fairness and bottom-up. The Internet community initiates and discusses the policy proposals. If consensus is reached on a given policy proposal, it is recommended to the AFRINIC Board of Directors to be ratified as an effective policy to be implemented within AFRINIC region.
All policies are developed in an open forum in which anyone may participate in. There are no qualifications for participation.
All aspects of the Policy Development Process are documented and publicly available via the AFRINIC website. The discussions are publicly archived. All procedures that are developed to implement the policy are documented by AFRINIC and are publicly available.
The policies are to ensure fair distribution of Internet number resources and facilitate the operation of the Internet within AFRINIC Service Region.
The community drives policy development
3.3. Policy development Working Group (PDWG)
The Policy Development Working group (PDWG) provides an open public forum to discuss Internet numbers resources management policies and related topics of interest to AFRINIC and the Internet community in the AFRINIC service region. PDWG sessions are held at AFRINIC Public policy meetings. Between meetings, discussions continue via the Resource Policy discussions mailing list. PDWG is open to all interested individuals.
Most of the decisions in the working group operations and discussions on policy proposals are made through rough consensus, unless specified otherwise.
In the context of the PDP, “Consensus” refers to “rough consensus” and must be treated as such.
The PDWG consensus process is a multi-stakeholder approach to decision-making. The process is used to develop the best possible resource management policies for the AFRINIC service region.
The consensus process begins when somebody proposes a new policy.
The discussion phase begins on the mailing list and continues during the Public policy meetings.
3.4.1 Minor objections
A minor objection is one where the objector believes some problems may occur for some participants in the community if the proposal goes forward.
The PDWG participants should work together to see if the proposal can be modified to overcome minor objections.
However, it is not always possible to overcome these objections. In this case, the Chairs may ask the objectors if they are prepared to acknowledge that the overall advantages of the proposal outweigh their objections and are willing to set them aside.
3.4.2 Major objections
Major objections are serious and indicate a belief that major problems will occur for parts of the community if the proposal goes forward; therefore, the proposal cannot be adopted in its current format.
The Chairs should devote sufficient time for the PDWG to discuss ways to overcome major objections.
PDWG participants, including the proponents, should work together to develop solutions that overcome major objections.
Consensus is reached on a proposal if the PDWG is able to successfully work through all objections in this way. It is not necessary for everyone to agree with the proposal. ‘Rough consensus’ is the point where all objections have been resolved or given due consideration and the PDWG believes the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.
3.4.3 Reaching consensus
In the meeting the Chairs may ask for a show-of-hands, or other techniques, to gauge support for a policy proposal. The use of show-of-hands or other techniques is not a vote. It is a way of broadly measuring opinion and the Chairs’ final decision take many additional factors into account, including earlier discussions on the mailing list.
The aim of the PDWG is to carefully consider all opinions before making a decision. At the end of meeting or after the adoption phase of a policy proposal, the Chairs will decide if the working group has reached consensus within 2 weeks.
Consensus is achieved when everyone consents to the decision of the group. The decision may not be everyone’s first preference, but is acceptable to all.
3.5. Policy proposals
Anyone can submit a policy proposal to PDWG Chairs
3.5.1 Phases of a policy proposal
A policy proposal follows four phases during its evolution through policy development process: Adoption Phase, Discussion Phase, Review Phase and the Concluding Phase.
22.214.171.124 The Adoption Phase
During this phase, the PDWG Chairs will assess the clarity and the relevance of the problem statement in accordance to the scope of the PDP and the existing policies.
PDWG Chairs or AFRINIC staff can work with the initiator(s) to redefine the problem statement if need be.
For policy proposals which are out of scope of AFRINIC PDP, or addressing the same issue as another policy proposal already adopted, the PDWG Chairs shall dissuade the initiator(s) from submitting to the working group.
In case of disagreement or doubt the PDWG Chairs may consult the working group on whether or not the working group is willing to adopt the proposal for discussion based on its problem statement.
Once adopted by the working group, the initiator(s) grant(s) all rights to the working group and the proposal becomes a community document.
In all matters of intellectual property rights and procedures, the intention is to benefit the community and the public at large, while respecting the legitimate rights of others.
Any call for adoption should last maximum of two weeks. At the term of two weeks, based on consensus, PDWG Chairs declare the beginning of the Discussion phase or declares the rejection of the policy proposal.
The initiator(s) of the policy proposal can reformulate their problem statement and go back to the adoption phase.
126.96.36.199 The Discussion Phase
During the discussion phase, the working group evaluates the policy proposal and comments are made. Politeness and courtesy must lead discussions, PDWG Chairs should emphasize this each time it is relevant.
188.8.131.52 The Review Phase
The goal of this phase is to review the full draft policy proposal compiled at the end of the Discussion Phase. Hence, the final documentation of the proposal will lead to consensus; all modifications made to that document should be transparent to the working group. During the Review Phase, discussion of the draft proposal can continue, also in the light of the impact analysis, and within the context of the proposal, further modifications can still be suggested regarding the draft proposal. The Review Phase should last for a maximum of four weeks.
184.108.40.206 The Concluding Phase
In the case, the Chairs determine that the WG has reached consensus at the end of the Review Phase, the PDWG Chairs move the draft proposal to a "Last Call for Comments" and the Concluding Phase starts. The Last Call period lasts at least two weeks. The Last Call shall be announced on policy discussions mailing list.
The purpose of this Last Call period is to provide the community with a final opportunity to comment on the draft proposal. This is especially intended for those who missed the previous two phases and want to oppose the proposal or make substantial remark. The "Last Call for Comments" gives time to the community after the PDWG Chairs declare at the end of the Review Phase so that suggestions for any final changes or objections to the proposal can be sent to the WG mailing list. At this stage, objections need to be justified just as in the other phases for them to be taken into account.
3.6. Policy Ratification
After a draft proposal has reached consensus, co-chairs shall submit it to the AFRINIC board of Directors for ratification. The submission report shall be comprehensive and provide enough detail about the lifecycle of the proposal through the PDP.
AFRINIC board of Directors has the obligation to ratify a policy proposal unless:
- The board finds that the PDP process or the declaration of consensus was materially flawed and wishes to remand the proposal to the community for further clarity of the community’s
After ratification, AFRINIC board of Directors, announce their decision to the working group and this activates implementation of the policy by AFRINIC staff.
3.7. Varying the Process
3.7.1 Variance by the PDWG
The process outlined in this document may vary in the case of an emergency. Variance is for use when a one-time waiving of some provision of this document is required. The decision to vary the process is taken by the Working Group Chair. There must be an explanation about why the variance is needed. The discussion, review and concluding period shall not be less than four weeks. If there is consensus, the policy is approved and it must be presented at the next Public Policy Meeting.
3.7.2 Variance by the AFRINIC board of Directors
AFRINIC bylaws allows board of Directors to adopt policies regarding the management of Internet number resources where it considers that the same is necessary and urgent, having regard to the proper and responsible usage of these resources.
Such adopted policy must be presented at the following public policy meeting for the working group consideration as per prescriptions of the same bylaws.
The implementation date of the policy is announced on the Resource Policy Discussion mailing list. The implementation date should be less than six months after ratification of the proposal by the board unless a waiver is requested.
a. During the Discussion Phase
During the Discussion Phase, anyone who has a complaint or other concern about the policy proposal or how it is being handled on the policy development mailing list should first raise the matter with the PDWG Chairs. If the dispute cannot be resolved with the PDWG Chairs, the appeals Procedure can be invoked.
b. During the Review & Concluding Phases
At these stages of the process – i.e. after the PDWG Chairs have declared initial consensus or the proposal is in Last Call – complaints should not be about the policy proposal itself unless there are exceptional extenuating circumstances.
Anyone who believes that the proposal has not been handled correctly or that the PDWG Chairs have made an incorrect determination of consensus should first raise the matter with the PDWG Chairs. If the dispute cannot be resolved with the WG Chairs, the Appeals Procedure can be invoked.
3.9.1 Appeals procedure
An appeal can only be filed if supported by three (3) individuals from the Working Group who participated in the discussions to the appeal committee.
The Appeal Committee shall issue a report on its review of the complaint to the Working Group in maximum 4 weeks after the appeal is recorded, unless a waiver is requested.
The Appeal Committee may direct that the Chairs decision be annulled if the Policy Development Process has not been followed. The appeal committee decision is final
3.9.2 Appeal committee
The AFRINIC Board of Directors shall appoint an appeal committee to handle appeals and disputes, which may arise in this Policy development process.
This proposal is mainly based on the intensive discussions we had on the current PDP during 2016 and 2017 on RPD mailing list. It addresses the issues by referring to best practices from IETF and the PDP of other RIRs.
5.0 Revision History
28 Apr 2017
09 Nov 2017
- Addresses most of the staff and Legal concerns:
- Amends the appeals procedures
- Splits the proposal in two documents:
a. The PDP
b. Working Group guidelines and procedures.
- Changing to the working group chairmanship to 2 chairs.
28 Apr 2018
Clarify “Consensus” in the context of the PDP. Refers to “Rough Consensus”. The document made consistent with “consensus”
3.5. Policy proposals
Clarify the process of selecting document editor.
3.6. Policy Ratification
Clarify how board acts for the ratification or not of a proposal submitted by the Working group.
3.7.2 Variance by the AFRINIC board of Directors
Clarify PDP variance by Board and remove referral to bylaws sections
Fix the mistake for implementation counter to start with the ratification by board and not from last call consensus date.
29 October 2018
3.4.3 Reaching Consensus:
Chairs are given up to 2 weeks to make decision of a draft proposal presented at PPM or at end of adoption phase of a proposal
3.5 policy proposals:
- Remove possibility of author’s anonymity
- Remove option for chairs to serve as document editor
3.9.2 Appeal committee:
Add provision for board appointed appeal committee as in current PDP