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[atlarge-discuss] Report to the ERC from the ALAC-AG (2/2)

(Part 2)


The Assistance Group recommends that an ALAC be established as a
standing advisory committee of the Board with 15 members to provide
advice to the Board and other policy-making and advisory organizations
within ICANN on the needs of, and the impact of proposed policies on,
the Internet's individual users.  As noted above, we suggest that the
ALAC - via its liaisons - also participate in some of these
organizations, rather than merely give advice. 

Underpinning the ALAC should be a network of self-organizing,
self-supporting At-Large Structures throughout the world involving
individual Internet users at the local or issue level (see examples of
potential At-Large Structures).  The At-Large Structures should
self-organize into five regional groups called "Regional At-Large
Organizations" (using ICANN's 5 geographic regions).  This will allow
each geographic area to select the type of structure and processes
that best fit its customs and characteristics, and to manage outreach
and public involvement more easily, so that the Regional At-Large
Organizations can become the main forum and coordination point for
public input to ICANN in their region.  

It should be noted that the Assistance Group had extensive discussions
about various approaches, including direct user involvement/selection
of ALAC members and At-Large structures that were *not* organized by
ICANN regions.  A concern remains among some Group members that we are
over-emphasizing geographic diversity at the expense of addressing
user issues or involving broader user perspectives.  We encourage all
interested parties to continue this dialogue and share their views
directly with the ERC.

Each of the five Regional At-Large Organizations should elect (or
select, depending on their capabilities and preferences) a Regional
At-Large Council comprising representative(s) of each At-Large
Structure. To help prevent capture, some Assistant Group members think
the Councils should have a fixed number of members, while others felt
it should remain flexible to meet region's needs (we also did not
agree on numbers, but discussed 5 - 20). Each of the five Councils
should then elect/select two members from their region (from different
countries) to serve on the ALAC for two-year terms.  Each Council also
should elect/select one delegate to serve on the NomCom.  

To accommodate the ERC's wish to have the NomCom appoint some of the
ALAC's members, we suggest that, initially, the NomCom should appoint
five ALAC members, with special consideration given to individuals
from among the international and issue-based organizations relevant to
ICANN's mission.  This will help to further ensure a broad user
perspective is represented on the ALAC.

After the ALAC and a global At-Large framework are established and
operational, the ALAC should work to help establish a process in which
seats are filled through elections by members of accredited At-Large
Structures.  Those elected should serve two-year terms (with a
staggered term system phased in) and comply with criteria that foster
rotation (e.g. the same organization cannot have a representative in
the ALAC for two consecutive terms, and the same country cannot send a
person for 2 consecutive terms). 

(See attached diagram).

Each Regional At-Large Organization should be required to enter into a
memorandum of understanding (MOU) with ICANN to participate in the
ALAC member election process. The MOU should address the reciprocal
duties and rights of ICANN and the Organization regarding the process
of selecting ALAC members, and minimum requirements of openness,
accountability, diversity, etc. in the Organization's structure (as
outlined below).  Each Regional At-Large Organization should be
self-supporting and separate from ICANN, and should be responsible for
establishing its internal bylaws, structuring its organization, and
managing the election/selection of ALAC members, provided that they
meet the basic requirements. 

If this approach is recommended by the ERC and adopted by the Board,
ICANN should ask the ALOC participants to help develop criteria for
At-Large Structures, and encourage the formation of both At-Large
Structures and Regional At-Large Organizations.  ALOC participants
also could assist with development of an MOU template for the Board's
consideration at ICANN's Shanghai meeting, which would help accelerate
the MOU process and enable Regional At-Large Organizations to start
working and to select their ALAC representatives in the following
months. However, in the event not all ALAC seats can be assigned at
the inception of the ALAC (e.g. due to lack of one or more Regional
At-Large Organizations) those seats should remain dormant and be
filled as soon as the related conditions are met.  Also, the ALAC
should not start working until an appropriate number of members are in

The Assistance Group is aware that the risk of capture and control has
been raised as an argument against more direct At-Large participation.
Capture is by definition the opposite of diversity, which is why we
have specifically looked for a structure that preserves both regional
and organizational diversity.  Within the ALAC, no region can become
dominant; within each region, organizations will rotate so that no
organization can dominate the regional representation and each
Regional At-Large Organization will make sure that no more than a
fraction of the Regional At-Large Organization's seats are held by
people from a single country.

Criteria for At-Large Structures/Regional At-Large Organizations

To help prevent participation by organizations that don't genuinely
reflect the interests of individual members, and to increase the
quality of At-Large involvement, we recommend that At-Large Structures
should comply with the following criteria and earn "accreditation"
from ICANN (initially, the Board could delegate this responsibility to
the ALOC; the ALAC would have responsibility for accreditation once it
is established).  Only accredited At-Large Structures should be
allowed to participate in the Regional At-Large Organizations, or
operate as international, issue-oriented At-Large Structures.  

We recommend the following criteria and standards for At-Large
Structures and Regional At-Large Organizations: 

	Open, participatory, and self-sustaining -- At-Large
Structures should be open to new individual constituents who meet
their membership requirements (e.g. location, interests, etc.);
organizations eligible for At-Large Structure accreditation should
include non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and non-profit,
non-commercial, individual membership based organizations with a focus
on issues related to ICANN's mission.  
	Engage in outreach to, and education of, individual Internet
users about ICANN and ICANN issues;  
	Involve individual Internet users in policy and
decision-making and activities related to involvement in ICANN,
including soliciting opinions of their constituents and having
participatory mechanisms for the discussion and/or development of
policies, aggregating views, and identifying relevant Internet user
priorities concerning ICANN;
	Maintain transparent and publicly accessible processes for
input, policy development, and decision-making;
	Post current information about the organization's aims,
structure, constituents, working mechanisms and current leadership; 
	Are able to maintain themselves without requiring funding from
ICANN (other than for the activities of their members who may be
individual representatives to the ALAC); and
	Are able to guarantee and demonstrate the real identities of
their constituents and to provide the relevant and appropriate data in
electronic form.  

To launch this effort, ICANN and entities involved in At-Large should
distribute a call for the development and designation of At-Large
Structures and establish a simple accreditation process.  At-Large
Structures should work together to form Regional At-Large
Organizations, sign an MOU with ICANN, and participate in the
selection of ALAC members, an executive committee of members who would
participate in other ICANN entities, and NomCom delegates.  To avoid
the potential for "early capture" we suggest that Regional At-Large
Structures meet minimum requirements before ICANN signs an MOU and the
Organizations s/elect ALAC members and NomCom delegates (e.g. Regional
At-Large Organizations should be allowed to sign the MoU with ICANN
only when they, either directly or through their affiliated At-Large
Structures, have at least 200 individual members from their region).
(The Assistance Group is discussing additional specific suggestions
for criteria and the accreditation process which we will submit to the
ERC in the near future - as a group or individually). Organizations
fulfilling the criteria should be able to apply to become At-Large
Structures at any time and participate in the Regional At-Large
Organizations and the ALAC activities, as appropriate.

It should be the ALAC's responsibility:
(i)	to alter or update the admission criteria for new Structures;
(ii)	to exclude from itself any Structure which, after appropriate
verification, fails to meet the current criteria; and
(iii)	to state whether any prospective Structure meets the criteria
and thus can be accepted in the process.
(Deliberations of type i) and ii) should require a majority vote of
2/3 of the ALAC and de facto would most likely have to be approved by
ICANN at least in principle under the MOU recognizing the ALAC.)
In the event that an organization is denied accreditation and wishes
to appeal, we suggest that the issue be sent to the proposed
"Ombudsman" who would be responsible for considering and making a
decision on the appeal.
It also should be the ALAC's responsibility, working in conjunction
with the Regional At-Large Organizations and using each Region's main
languages, to:
(i)	Keep its community informed about the significant news from
(ii)	Distribute/post an updated agenda and information about items
in the ICANN discussion process;
(iii)	Promote outreach activities in its' community;
(iv)	Distribute/post news about ICANN;
(v)	Develop and maintain on-going, information and education
programs, regarding ICANN and its work;
(vi)	Establish an outreach strategy about ICANN issues in each
RALO's Region; 
(vii)	Make public, and analyze, ICANN's proposed policies and its
decisions and their (potential) regional impact and (potential) effect
on individuals in the region;
(viii)	Offer Internet-based mechanisms that enable membership
discussions; and
(ix)	Establish mechanisms and processes that enable two-way
communication between members and those involved in ICANN
decision-making, so interested individuals can share their views on
pending ICANN issues. 

ICANN should provide a staff person to serve as secretariat for the
ALAC and as support for facilitating individual users' participation
in ICANN's policy-making processes.  In furtherance of ICANN's
outreach and public involvement goals, ICANN should share with the
Regional At-Large Organizations resources that support the work of the
ALAC (e.g. web forums, discussion lists, ALAC announcements list,
etc.).  We also recommend that ICANN reimburse ALAC members' travel
costs for participation in ICANN Board meetings.  ICANN should include
these and other ALAC start-up costs in its budget and commit to
funding them, as an important signal to the At-large community and the
Department of Commerce that it takes individual Internet users'
participation and their concerns seriously.


In the context of ICANN's current reform process, we view the
establishment of an ALAC as an important first step towards structured
involvement of the individual user community in ICANN.  We offer these
recommendations for the establishment of an ALAC and a supporting
regional At-Large structure as a practical way of formalizing a role
for At-Large within ICANN's policy development process that ensures
users' views are taken into account. The Assistance Group would be
pleased to answer any questions the ERC may have and will continue to
provide additional suggestions and comments either as individuals or
as a Group.

Addendum - At-Large History

In November, 1998, the U.S. Department of Commerce recognized ICANN in
a Memorandum of Understanding/Joint Project Agreement. With regard to
membership, the MOU specified that ICANN and DOC would, "Collaborate
on the design, development, and testing of appropriate membership
mechanisms that foster accountability to and representation of the
global and functional diversity of the Internet and its users, within
the structure of the private-sector DNS management organization."  In
January, 1999, ICANN created a Membership Advisory Committee (MAC),
and asked for its recommendations on a range of membership policy and
procedural issues. The MAC's final report and commentary was submitted
to the Board, in May, 1999.  

After considerable public discussion and no apparent consensus,
ICANN's Board adopted what is described as "a compromise interim
solution: the direct selection of five ICANN directors by a
self-selected At-Large constituency; the continued service of four of
the original ICANN directors; and a study of how to provide
appropriately for input and influence into ICANN policy deliberations
and decisions by the general Internet community.  Five At-Large
Directors were selected in a global, direct election by 34,035 e-mail
address holders, and seated in November 2000. The At-Large Study
Committee (ALSC) submitted their report in November, 2001 and a
subsequent implementation report in March 2002.

That same month, the Board decided that "ICANN should have a robust At
Large mechanism for meaningful, informed participation by Internet
users of the kind recommended in the ALSC report."  To achieve this,
the Board called "upon the ICANN community to devote sustained energy
to the creation of At Large structures built upon bottom-up,
self-organized, local Internet community institutions and other
organizations that meet the general criteria of openness,
participation, and self-sustainability, anticipating that most such
entities are not ICANN-specific, but already serve their communities
in broader ways."

As stated in the "White Paper," issued by the U.S. Department of
Commerce designating ICANN as the technical coordination body of the
Internet, "The new corporation should operate as a private entity for
the benefit of the Internet community as a whole. The development of
sound, fair, and widely accepted policies for the management of the
DNS will depend on input from the broad and growing community of
Internet users." 
The issue of how to involve Internet users in ICANN has gone
unresolved despite more than four years of debate (started before
ICANN itself began), several studies, one global election of five
At-Large Directors to ICANN's Board, and the recently completed ALSC
reports. The Board took an important step towards resolving the issue
with passage of its March 14 resolution calling for At-Large
organizing and involvement in ICANN. Many details, however, remain
unresolved and it is hoped that an emerging At-Large constituency can
help settle, once and for all, the details of how ICANN achieves
representation and participation of the world's individual Internet
vb.               [Vittorio Bertola - v.bertola [a] bertola.eu.org]<------
----------------------> http://bertola.eu.org/ <--------------------------

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