[ALAC] ALAC/At-Large Improvements Project -- important update

Olivier MJ Crepin-Leblond ocl at gih.com
Mon Oct 10 09:52:16 UTC 2011

Hello Jean-Jacques,

thank you for your kind message. My answers inline:

On 10/10/2011 04:22, Jean-Jacques SUBRENAT wrote :
> /Hello Olivier, Evan,/
> /
> /
> /the question is not just about choosing "phase" or "milestone": it
> should be about the way ALAC considers its role within ICANN. Let me
> offer a few thoughts:/
> /
> /
> /_1) When to publish?_ It is common sense that the Final Report should
> be completed before publication. However, 2 separate things should be
> considered here:/
>   * /The legal or formal aspect: General Counsel's office (GCO) is
>     right, and common sense would also have it that a report be
>     considered "final" when all pending matters have been brought to a
>     close./
>   * /But more importantly, there is a "political" aspect as well: ALAC
>     should assert itself _according to its own assessment of ICANN's
>     overall situation_, and not only in reaction to the ALAC Review WG
>     recommendations or GCO's advice on timing. Thus, we should
>     determine if and whether there is a need to call the Board's and
>     our community's attention to progress already made, challenges
>     ahead, and our timeline./

I believe that it is good practice, in the interest of transparency and
good cross communication, leading by example, to have a report that
provides public information about the ALAC's progress - and the very
hard work which this community has furnished in the past few years, in
addition to all of its work in public policy comments etc. A report was
eagerly awaited since we had set ourselves deadlines on completing the
work. As it happened, with a new challenges being unearthed at every new
stone upturned, we are running late. But we are running late not because
of our  lazyness; we are running late because of the thoroughness that
we are applying to our job. I think that this reflects positively on the
level of professionalism that this community is showing - and the Board
needs to be reminded of that.

> /_2) "Phase" or "milestone"?_ We need to take a wider and longer-term
> view of things. Yes, At-Large has come a long way from (unfairly)
> perceived irrelevance to being a natural partner. And yes, this
> progress has been achieved by sending the right type of signals
> (advice requested from ALAC is provided in a more professional and
> timely way, better coordination now between different elements of
> At-Large...). So I would suggest that if we want to send something to
> the Board now, we should do so by _placing our current work in
> perspective_: step 1 was the ALAC Review WG's recommendations, step 2
> entailed implementing what could be done quickly, step 3 was taking
> stock of the ATRT's additional layer of recommendations, step 4 is
> where we are at now, and step 5 will be the Final Report. The
> advantage of this (truthful) presentation is that we show we have the
> bigger picture in mind, and that we're already at step 4 out of 5. If
> necessary, we should also point out that, several years after the
> Board Review WG recommendations (e.g. compensation for Directors),
> some of those latter have still not been implemented either, so we're
> on an equal footing, and will not accept people in glass houses
> throwing stones at us (ALAC members all reside in yurts, so there's no
> risk). IT's high time that the famed multi-stakeholder model, which
> implies equality, be more thoroughly implemented within ICANN's ACs
> and SOs, so that advice from ALAC will be considered equivalent to
> what comes, say, from the GAC.
> /

I totally agree with you, Jean-Jacques. The report, I think, encompasses
all of what you have mentioned here.

> /
> /
> /_3) Make the best use of ICANN-42 in Dakar_. From Dakar onwards, the
> Board will go into "sorry I can't look at that now we've got to
> implement new gTLDs and search for the next CEO" mode. So Dakar is our
> last chance in 2011 to really get the Board's attention. But what
> message do we want to deliver? IMO, we should use the joint breakfast
> opportunity to/
>   * /Demonstrate that ALAC, though determined to carry out ongoing
>     obligations (implementing the Improvement recommendations,
>     churning out reactive advice), is now sufficiently autonomous in
>     its thinking to have its own, dynamic agenda (how we expect ALAC's
>     advice to be acted upon by the Board; also, I'd be glad to say a
>     few words about our FCWG)/

Completely agree.

>   * /Offer to each member of the Board a 2-page résumé of where ALAC
>     stands now (we're at step 4 out of 5, what else we do, how we are
>     now organized). The idea is that each individual member of the
>     Board should take away from our breakfast, a sense that ALAC has
>     indeed matured, and is worthy of being heeded.
>     /

Good idea. Would the document's Executive Summary be enough?

With regards to your comment predicting that the Board will go into:
"/"sorry I can't look at that now we've got to implement new gTLDs and
search for the next CEO"/ mode, I am very concerned about that possibility.
I Dearly hope that this is not going to be the case. This kind of
thinking for the Board would be totally inadmissible. It is about time
that the Board members get organised so as not to end up working on a
single subject at a time. I therefore really hope your scenario will not
happen. If it does, I believe it is the ALAC's DUTY to pull the alarm
trigger that something's systematically wrong at ICANN and needs to be
fixed if the organization is to survive.

Kind regards,


Olivier MJ Crépin-Leblond, PhD

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