Comments of the ISPCP Constituency on the ALAC Review
ISPCP Comments to the ALAC Review In the main, the ISPCP constituency believes that the At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) can serve a useful and important role in ICANN to "consider and provide advice on the activities of ICANN, insofar as they relate to the interests of individual Internet users." [from the Bylaws] We believe that, although the ALAC initially had an ineffectual beginning, it has seen significant improvement in the past year. Nevertheless, it has a long way to go before it can truly be said to represent the interests of the general Internet user community. Therefore, the ISPCP constituency welcomes the ALAC Review as a valuable starting point for strengthening the ALAC and improving its efficacy. Toward that end we offer the following comments to the main recommendations of the BCG report. 1.1 Recommendations Recommendation 1 That the number of NomCom appointees to the ALAC should be increased from five to seven, and that this structure should specifically be revisited at the next triennial review taking account of the then existing Geographic Regional Structure of ICANN. We see no reason to change the number of appointees to the ALAC. This would run counter to the concept of ALAC representing the 5 ICANN regions. Each region has its own particular interests and concerns; population is not an overriding factor. Recommendation 2 That all members of the ALAC (and, ideally, of the RALOs) should be given clear position descriptions. We fully support this recommendation. Recommendation 3 That the current distribution of the RALOs be left unaltered until at least the next ALAC review. This a reasonable approach. The implementation of the RALO concept is still in its early days. It should be more mature before considering an alteration of its structure. Recommendation 4 That ICANN should implement an activity-based costing system in order to improve resource management. We fully endorse this recommendation. This is indispensable to improving ALAC's effectiveness. Recommendation 5 That ICANN should provide further resourcing to support the ALAC, to the extent of (up to) one new employee per region. We agree that ICANN should provide further resourcing if, as and when necessary to support the ALAC. The amount and type of support should be based on the Annual Statement of Intent and ALAC Strategic Plan (see Rec. 10). Until a clear and persuasive case is made, though, it is premature to suggest increased support. Recommendation 6 That the ALAC Chair negotiate an annual support agreement with ICANN staff, setting out agreed expectations and performance indicators. Agreed. Recommendation 7 The ALAC position on the Board should remain that of a Liaison, with rights to full participation and information, but no voting rights. Agreed. This is an effective and appropriate way for ALAC to contribute to the deliberations of the ICANN Board. Recommendation 8 That the term of appointment of the Board and other Liaisons be extended to two years, subject to the ALAC retaining the 'right of recall' under the Rules of Procedure, Rule 11 - Recall Votes. Acceptable. This is a reasonable modification of the current arrangement. Recommendation 9 That ICANN staff should create a brief and multi-lingual guide to ICANN and the ALAC, aimed at individual Internet users and ALSs. We fully support this. Recommendation 10 That the ALAC should develop: * A simple annual Statement of Intent which specifies the current issues and priorities, objectives and activities for the next 12 months, and defines measures of success for each of the activities and objectives. This document should be strongly aligned to ICANN's Strategic and Operational Plans and be published on the ALAC website; * Before the next ICANN annual planning cycle, the ALAC should develop a Strategic Plan of its own (complementing the broader ICANN Strategic Plan). * Following the development of this Strategic Plan, the ALAC should then generate an annual Operating Plan which cites the activities and resources required to support the Strategic Plan during that year (also complementing the corresponding broader ICANN Strategic and Operating Plans and fitting the same planning cycle). We believe these documents are necessary to improve the focus and effectiveness of the ALAC. Considerable emphasis should be place on outreach activities; today ALAC engages an unacceptably miniscule fraction of the billion+ Internet users. If regional focus is expanded, additional staff support should be implemented step by step as warranted (see comments on Rec. 5). Recommendation 11 That the term of appointment of the ALAC Chair should be extended to two years. This is an acceptable modification of the current arrangement. As with Rec. 8, we believe the 'right of recall' under the Rules of Procedure, Rule 11 - Recall Votes should be retained. Recommendation 12 That the ALAC should explore ways to differentiate between organizations that genuinely represent individual Internet users, and are therefore ALS candidates, as opposed to those which may be a better fit with the NCUC. We fully support this. Additionally we recommend that both ALAC and NCUC should be urged to clarify the status of representation. Recommendation 13 That the ALAC should publish on its website trends in the average time taken from receipt of an ALS application to decision. Supported. Recommendation 14 That regular ALS compliance reviews be conducted and the non-compliance provisions be applied as appropriate. Supported. Recommendation 15 That ICANN should develop clear sanctions for non-compliance. These might include: ineligibility for ICANN travel funding; loss of voting rights; or being suspended until the matter is remedied. Supported. Recommendation 16 That any outstanding issues relating to Ombudsman reports 05-1090 and 06-317, should be dealt with as soon as possible by the ICANN Board or the ALAC (as appropriate). Supported. Recommendation 17 That the ALAC should develop a clearly defined process for the engagement of the At-Large community in developing policy positions. We fully support this. A uniform process and increased outreach are called for. Recommendation 18 That the ALAC should use multi-lingual wikis rather than the current email lists to allow the At-Large community to more easily observe and participate in the development of policy positions. Agreed. Recommendation 19 That ICANN should increase the public comment period to 45 calendar days in order to allow a greater time period for At-Large community consultation in all regions. This should not be necessary if ALAC succeeds in improving its effectiveness in reaching its target community. 45 days is unacceptably long. Recommendation 20 That the ICANN Board should amend the Travel Policy to pay for accommodation expenses (including breakfast and internet access fees) and where practicable accommodate At-large members at or very near the main conference venue. The per diem amount (to cover other appropriate daily expenses) should also be available as a cash advance for those that require it. No special provisions should be formulated for ALAC participation in ICANN. Any ALAC travel policy should be discussed and developed in the context of the general ICANN travel policy and subject to the same financial reviews. Recommendation 21 That private email lists should be used only for appropriate non-public discussion. Agreed. Recommendation 22 That ICANN should continue to work on its language policy, including translation and other services. Generally supported, but ICANN should determine the impact on its financial budget implications and transparently make their findings known to the public. Recommendation 23 That ICANN staff should manage and maintain content of the various ALAC wikis. As with Rec. 22 we generally support this concept, but with the proviso that the specific budget implications are calculated and made transparent. Recommendation 24 That the ALAC should replace email lists with wikis for policy discussions in particular and continue the evaluation of Web-based tools to facilitate discussion and collaborative working. Agreed. This should help improve ALAC's effectiveness.