[ALAC] Rapporteur position

Alan Greenberg alan.greenberg at mcgill.ca
Tue Oct 6 22:38:31 CDT 2009

As the person holding the position of Rapporteur for the last year, I 
thought I would make some comments regarding the position.

Many of our ALAC/At-Large rules are based on United Nations 
documents, and the term Rapporteur is part of that. You can find the 
original usage in the UN General Assembly Rules at 

I could not readily find a formal definition within the UN documents, 
but the sense with respect to a committee is someone who summarizes 
and reports on the deliberations of the committee. In the wider UN 
context, the terms is also used as someone who is sent to investigate 
some situation and report back - as in a Special Rapporteur on Human 
Rights who may be sent to some country believed to be violating human rights.

Within the ALAC Rules of Procedure, the definition is "An independent 
critical friend; a person acting as a monitor to processes, who is 
responsible on behalf of the committee to ensure correct process have 
been carried out." The only place I could locate anything close to 
this definition was in an online English-Turkish dictionary.

Someday, we should probably change the name...

In any case, on thinking what this officer could and should 
reasonably be responsible for, I looked at what major problems we 
have had over the last year where adding leadership might help.

I think the one function that was not performed well by any officer 
or by staff was the overseeing of the policy process within 
ALAC/At-Large. We were continually in a position where time:
- time had passed on known issue deadlines;
- we had not yet taken sufficient action; and
- we had no choice but to scramble to do something in very short order.

I would suggest that the Rapporteur take charge of this (with staff 
support). I hesitate to be very prescriptive, since whoever occupies 
the position should decide for themselves (along with the other 
officers and the ALAC) exactly what needs to be done. Nevertheless, 
in my mind, what we need is someone who can analyze what level of 
effort will be needed, set reasonable time-lines, and monitor 
performance. All of this in support of ensuring that the ALAC and 
At-Large deliver, in a timely manner, what the ICANN community and 
the user community needs.


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