22 July 2020
1. Summary of the problem being addressed by this proposal
The current PDP uses a working group for policy development activities. It does not define specific procedures and operational rules for the working group. This has over the time led to interpretation issues in regards to how the working group is administered and how discussions are moderated.
2. Summary of how this proposal addresses the problem
The proposal addresses the problems by defining clear and explicit Working Group guidelines and procedures.
The proposal amends the Policy Development Process, section 3.3 of the AFRINIC CPM.
The Policy Development Working Group has two Chairs to perform its administrative functions. The PDWG Chairs are chosen by the AFRINIC community during the Public Policy Meeting and serve staggered two-year terms. The term ends during the first Public Policy Meeting corresponding to the end of the term for which they were appointed. A term may begin or end no sooner than the first day of the Public Policy Meeting and no later than the last day of the Public Policy Meeting as determined by the mutual agreement of the current Chair and the new Chair.
If the Working Group Chair is unable to serve his or her full term, the Working Group may select a replacement to serve the remainder of the term. If the Working Group Chairs are unable to attend the Public Policy Meeting, the Working Group shall nominate a Chair for the session. Anyone present at the meeting, whether in person or by remote participation, may participate in the selection process for a temporary Chair.
The Policy Development working group (PDWG) provides an open public forum to discuss Internet number resources 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 through the Resource Policy discussions mailing list. The PDWG is open to all interested individuals.
This document serves as guidelines on how the working group shall operate. It defines clear roles and responsibilities for the PDWG co-chairs and clear procedures for the working group’s administration.
Two PDWG co-chairs primarily administer the Policy Development Working Group. The PDWG co-chairs perform a vital role in managing the working group. The effectiveness of the PDWG is dependent on the active participation of the co-chairs. PDWG co-chairs undertake their role on a volunteer basis.
The co-chairs coordinate the activities of the policy development’s working group and are expected to attend all AFRINIC Public Policy Meetings. They must remain subscribed to the AFRINIC Policy Discussion mailing list for the duration of their term and must also be subscribed to the AFRINIC members-discuss mailing list during their term.
For each policy proposal, one co-chair must be assigned as the primary contact; both co-chairs, however, shall actively participate in the consensus-building. The leading co-chair for the proposal as described above shall guide the policy proposal through the different phases of the PDP.
3.3.2 Responsibilities of PDWG co-chairs
The co-chairs’ responsibility encompasses at least the following:
The co-chairs have ultimate responsibility for ensuring that the working group achieves forward progress. The co-chairs are also responsible to ensure that the working group operates in an open and fair manner.
The co-chairs should attempt to ensure that the discussions on the list are relevant and that they converge to consensus agreements. The co-chairs should make sure that discussions on the list are summarized and that the outcome is well documented to avoid repetition and other abuses.
The responsibilities of the co-chairs are listed below:
184.108.40.206 Before an AFRINIC Public Policy Meeting
220.127.116.11 During a Public Policy Meeting
18.104.22.168 After a Public Policy Meeting
3.3.3. Appointment of PDWG co-chairs
The working group appoints two co-chairs for a two-year term. Co-chairs’ appointments occur in alternate years for each seat (seat1 and seat2).
The working group makes decisions by consensus and shall also appoint co-chairs by consensus. Elections should be used as a last resort solution.
The appointment for each seat follows the following process:
At least 60 days before the Public Policy Meeting, AFRINIC staff sends a call for nominations to the policy development mailing list. The call will contain:
Any natural person residing in a country from the AFRINIC service region is allowed to volunteer.
Volunteers make themselves known by introducing themselves (short biography and motivation) as a candidate on the working group mailing list.
Candidates for the co-chair’s position should be known as active participants on the working group mailing list with good experience with the AFRINIC policy development process and must have attended at least two (2) AFRINIC Public Policy Meetings of which one must be in person, during the last 3 years.
If at least one nomination is received by the closing date, the appointment process starts. The appointment must be held at the upcoming Public Policy Meeting as the first item on the agenda. Those present at the session, either in person or remotely, will determine by consensus among the candidates who shall take the available position. The remaining chair will determine whether consensus has been reached. If the working group finds itself without a co-chair, the chair of the AFRINIC Board of Directors will lead the consensus process.
If only one candidate is being evaluated, the lack of consensus must declare the seat vacant. The chair of the AFRINIC board of directors shall appoint interim co-chair. The Interim co-chair will act up to the appointment of the new co-chair.
If no consensus can be reached and more than one candidate is being evaluated, then a secret ballot to elect the new co-chair will be held. Everyone physically present at the session can participate in the secret ballot. Votes and counting shall be conducted using a ranked preferential voting method otherwise known as IRV. The winner of the secret ballot will become the new co-chair.
In the unlikely event that after all the rounds of counting of the vote, there is a tie between the two (2) most ranked candidates, they shall be asked to select one among them to serve the term by consensus. The seat shall be declared vacant in case of failure of agreement between the last two.
If the secret ballot cannot be held, the seat is declared vacant. The chair of the AFRINIC board of directors shall appoint interim co-chairs(s). The Interim co-chair(s) will act up to the appointment of the new co-chair(s).
The exit of co-chair includes a handover period and an expectation that the sitting chair follows proposals, which have already reached a consensus, to the completion of their PDP cycle.
3.3.4. Recalling a co-chair
If the co-chair does not attend two consecutive AFRINIC Public Policy Meetings without reasons or has been publicly reported by the other co-chair as no longer attending to the working group’s affairs without reasons, the co-chair will be removed from its role.
Anyone may request the recall of a working group co-chair at any time, upon a written request with justification to the AFRINIC Board of Directors. The request must be supported by at least ten (10) other persons.
The AFRINIC Board of Directors shall appoint a recall committee, excluding the persons requesting the recall and the co-chair. The recall committee shall investigate the circumstances of the request for the recall and determine the outcome in not more than 4 weeks after the recall is recorded. The recall committee report shall be published on the working group mailing list.
The recall committee decision shall be final and binding.
Whenever a co-chair is removed from its role and recalled, the remaining co-chair will assume the chairing role of the working group until the appointment of a new co-chair(s).
3.3.5. Resignation of co-chair
If a co-chair resigns, the remaining co-chair will assume the chairing role of the working group until the appointment of a new co-chair(s).
If both co-chairs resign, the chair of the AFRINIC board of directors shall as a matter of urgency lead the appointment by the working group of an interim co-chair(s) via the mailing list or at the Public Policy meeting. If no consensus can be reached, the chair of the Board of directors shall appoint interim Co-chairs(s) for the working group.
The Interim chair will act up to the appointment of the new co-chair(s).
3.3.6 Operations working group (PDWG)
22.214.171.124 Moderation of working group discussions and sessions
The challenge of managing the policy development working group sessions is to balance the need for open and fair consideration of the issues against the need to make forward progress. The working group, as a whole, has the final responsibility for striking this balance. The working group co-chairs have the responsibility for overseeing the process.
To facilitate making forward progress, the working group co-chairs may wish to decide to reject or defer the input from an individual, based upon the following criteria:
Old: The input pertains to a topic that already has been resolved and is redundant with information previously available;
Minor: The input is new and pertains to a topic that has already been resolved, but it is felt to be of minor import to the existing decision;
Timing: The input pertains to a topic that the working group has not yet opened for discussion;
Scope: The input is outside the scope of the discussions or of the working group
3.3.7 Individual behaviours
Occasionally one or more individuals may engage in behaviour on a mailing list that, in the opinion of the working group co-chairs, is disruptive to the working group’s progress or goes against applicable Codes of Conduct.
Unless the disruptive behaviour is severe enough that it must be stopped immediately, the co-chairs should attempt to discourage disruptive behaviour by communicating directly with the offending individual. If the behaviour persists, the co-chairs should send at least one public warning on the mailing list. The warning should clearly expose what is being cautioned on the individual and the basis of co-chairs judgment.
As last resort, and typically after one or more explicit warnings, and if the behaviour persists, the working group co-chairs may suspend the mailing list posting privileges of the disruptive individual for a period of not more than 30 days. The application of this restriction must be gradual. If the individual resumes with the same behaviour or worse, the restriction period may increase.
Even while posting privileges are suspended, the individual must not be prevented from receiving messages posted to the list.
Other Mailing list control solutions may be considered. The working group must have adopted these solutions.
Like all other working group’s co-chairs' decisions, any suspension of posting privileges is subject to appeal.
3.3.8 Public Policy Meeting
A Public Policy Meeting (PPM) is a meeting open to the community wherein proposals for policies are discussed within the framework of the Policy Development Process (PDP). The AFRINIC Board of Directors calls PPMs in accordance with section 11.2 of the Bylaws.
If one co-chair can’t participate in a Public Policy Meeting, the second co-chair shall chair the meeting.
If both co-chairs can’t participate in a meeting, the working group shall appoint one (1) person temporarily to lead the session. If the working group cannot appoint a temporary chair, the chair of the AFRINIC board of directors shall appoint a temporary chair. If the board chair fails to appoint a temporary chair, the meeting shall be adjourned.
The temporary chair appointed above shall lead the discussions according to the agenda, but can’t determine consensus on policy proposals. He will provide meeting minutes to the mailing list and allow the co-chairs to take over.
While open discussion and contribution are essential to working Group success, co-chairs are responsible for ensuring forward progress. When acceptable to the working group, co-chairs may call for restricted participation (but not restricted attendance!) at Public Policy meetings for the purpose of achieving progress. The working group co-chairs then have the responsibility to refuse to grant the floor to any individual who is unprepared or otherwise covering inappropriate material, or who, in the opinion of the co-chairs, is disrupting the working group process.
The working group makes decisions by consensus as defined in the PDP
126.96.36.199 Suspension of posting privileges
Anyone whose privileges of posting to the mailing list have been suspended by the working group co-chairs may file an appeal against the decision to the chair of the AFRINIC board of directors. The chair will evaluate the circumstances, hear the co-chairs and complainer and decide. The chair’s decision shall be final and binding.
188.8.131.52 Co-chairs appointment
A person who disagrees with the actions taken by a co-chair regarding the appointment process shall follow the conflict resolution process as defined in the PDP.
Actions taken by the chair of AFRINIC board of directors regarding the appointment process are final and binding
The author would like to acknowledge that some text and procedures in this document have been adapted from RFC2418 and from the working group’s practices of other RIRs.
22 July 2020
Version 1: AFPUB-2020-GEN-001-DRAFT01
Initial draft posted to rpd formatted
AFRINIC Policy Impact Assessment
AFRINIC Staff Assessment
|Date of Assessment||Relevant to Proposal|
|30 Aug 2020||AFPUB-2020-GEN-002-DRAFT01|
1. Staff Interpretation & Understanding of the proposal
This policy proposal brings in some changes to the functioning of the Policy Development Working Group (PDWG) as follows:-
a) PDWG Co-chairs responsibilities
b) Appointment of PDWG co-chairs
c) Recall of co-chairs - the introduction of the recall committee
d) How to proceed should a co-chair resign
e) Operations of the PDWG
f) Appeals - Someone whose posting privileges have been suspended can appeal against this decision.
2.0 AFRINIC Staff Comments on the clarity of policy
3.0 AFRINIC Staff Clarification Requests
1. Section 3.1 mentions that the PDP co-chairs need to be subscribed to the members-discuss mailing list. Since the latter is a mailing list dedicated to members' contacts, read-only access may be granted to the PDP co-chairs, i.e they would not have any posting rights.
2. Section 3.3.3 mentions how co-chairs shall be appointed, inclusive of call for nominations, eligibility criteria for nominees, and the election procedure.
a) Administratively, the AFRINIC Board of Directors currently set up the NomCom and election guidelines to handle all elections of AFRINIC. The NomCom guidelines are also approved by the Board, https://www.afrinic.net/committees/nomcom . Can the authors clarify how AFRINIC shall proceed in regard to the elections?
b) Where, in the event, an election of co-chair is to be conducted using the ranked preferential method, the same will be done using an electronic voting system. Authors to clarify if this is acceptable
3. Regarding the 2-year terms of the co-chairs, the policy proposal is not clear as to when the term of a co-chair begins or ends. We recommend that the authors clearly define the start and end of the co-chair's terms.
4. Whereas in Section 3.3.4, it is mentioned that ‘The AFRINIC Board of Directors shall appoint a recall committee, excluding the persons requesting the recall and the co-chair. The recall committee shall investigate the circumstances of the request for the recall and determine the outcome in not more than 4 weeks after the recall is recorded. The recall committee report shall be published on the working group mailing list.’
Since a recall committee does not exist at the moment, one shall be appointed by the AFRINIC Board if this proposal reaches consensus.
5. Section 184.108.40.206 Suspension of posting privileges ‘Anyone whose privileges of posting to the mailing list have been suspended by the working group co-chairs may file an appeal against the decision to the chair of the AFRINIC board of directors’
Where appeals have been handled as per Conflict resolution Section 3.5 of CPM, this appeal shall be handled by the chair of the AFRINIC Board.
6. According to Clause 3.1 of the CPM "Internet number resource policies are distinctly separate from AFRINIC general business practices and procedures. General business practices and procedures are not within the purview of the Policy Development Process." Elections of the co-chairs are usually handled by the AFRINIC NomCom in accordance with Section 9.3 of the AFRINIC bylaws. The Authors to clarify as to how the Section 3.3.3 of this proposal aligns with the bylaws.
4.0 Staff Comments On Areas of Impact
The policy if it reaches consensus will not impact any registry functions or AFRINIC systems, except the online election platform that will be used for co-chairs election(should the need arise).