[ALAC] ALAC & At-Large involvement in GNSO activities

Olivier MJ Crepin-Leblond ocl at gih.com
Wed Feb 13 13:45:23 UTC 2013

Dear Avri,

thank you for your kind message. I'll reply to a few selected paragraphs:

On 13/02/2013 14:12, Avri Doria wrote:
> ALAC is not alone in the lack of real grassroots bottom-up activity.  But one of the things that is most remarkable about the At-Large is that it really is supposed to be about reaching the actual users and bringing them in.  That is hard, but it is special and it something that ALAC should be dedicated to; it does not appear to be.   Until this actually starts to happen, until the users' voices are actually heard and measured in a predictable and steady manner on the most important decisions, ALAC remains part of a top down solution, not the representatives of a bottom-up democratic effort.  ALAC is a bureau, and as happens in many bureaucracies, has become an self maintaining institution unto itself that is not connected to the people it is supposed to represent.

I think that this criticism is unwarranted. Let me repeat this again:
the ALAC is *dedicated* to the bottom-up process. All of the ALAC's
calls are open to any ALS to participate in and I have, on each of the
RALO calls, actively asked that individuals from ALSes get involved
directly in the policy development. And I say it again here: the current
policy development of the ALAC is here: https://community.icann.org/x/bwFO

Anyone can comment on the current drafts. Anyone can volunteer to hold
the pen in putting together a first draft. But it is hard work -- and so
far, only a small subset of ALS representatives not in the ALAC have
held the pen.
Another component is capacity building. Through working groups, but also
through RALO working groups, we are making progress on Capacity
Building. Informal discussions I have had with ALS representatives made
it appear that only when our ALSes are empowered can they feel the
confidence in taking part in the ALAC's bottom-up policy development
Now I am aware that our ALAC Web site is still an absolute mess and was
supposed to be completely redesigned a year ago -- and that the process
has been taking ages, but the ball is in ICANN Staff hands and as you
know ICANN has gone through a complete change - so our community is
still eagerly awaiting a follow-up on this.

Now let me address something which you appear to point to regarding
bottom up: bottom up policy input has nothing to do with elections,
selections and appointments. Elections, Selections and Appointments are
to do with leadership. Bottom-up is to do with having the policy input
from the edges go to the top --- and this community has been practising
this for as long as I have been an ALAC member... so the I reject the
blame you are putting onto the ALAC, sorry.

> As ALAC sets itself to carry a message of global public interest, it is critical that At-Large really become a bottom-up organization. Or let me say, as we in ICANn seem to be losing the definition of bottom-up as we continually speaking of it, even when it is absent.  It needs to be energized and motivated as a grass-roots organization. And for that to happen ALAC really has to work hard to bring the ALS members and other users into the process.  The At-large has yet to become real.  After all of the years, since the creation of ALAC, At-Large is largely missing from the formula.

Sorry, I do not agree. The First At-Large Summit got the community to
come together and do excellent work.
We are now going to ask for a second Summit and I hope you will join us
in promoting this to the rest of the ICANN community when the time comes.
In the meantime, by the end of this year, every region will have had its
own Face to Face General Assembly and Capacity Building Programme. But
as one ALS member recently said very eloquently on a RALO call, "a
one-off face to face meeting was good, but not enough. You cannot learn
everything in one go. I wish we could have two or three face to face
meetings to help us be more effective in our input and understand the

And this is completely in line with my point of view and the point of
view of many of my colleagues. Ask Sandra, Sala, Tijani, Cheryl and
their respective Teams with which they have worked hard to put together
proposals: "why have they done this" ? Because it's all about user and
ALS empowerment to channel their input into the ICANN policy development

> Alan's message calls for At-large involvement in the policy development processes.  I support this call, but it must be a call for the At-Large and not just to ALAC.  As the pinnacle of At-Large, it is ALAC job to figure out how to make involvement of the At-Large real.  Until it is, ALAC advice will always be suspect as the voice of a few privileged suzerains. 

So you see? You and I agree on the conclusion. And I think that my ALAC
colleagues will agree too. The size of the task is so huge, it's going
to take time, work and funding. And we all know that Rome was not built
in a day, so we need to start one step at a time. The good thing is that
we have already started.

Kind regards,


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