[EURO-Discuss] ALAC

Roberto Gaetano roberto at icann.org
Fri May 4 06:02:53 EDT 2007


This is my last message on the subject.

I think that we all agree to the basic principles you expose in your email,
the discussion is not at all on the principles, but on the practical

Yes, geographical distribution is a key issue, and I don't think that
anybody will argue against this (you might remember when I raised the issue
of ICANN having had two CEOs and two Chairpersons all from the US, that was
before the time of Paul Twomey). However, things happen when conditions to
make them happen are created. As an example, up to now, we had as ALAC
representatives only Germans and Italians, hardly an example of
diversification, but nobody raised any issue when a German replaced a
German. Now, that we can move including other countries, the issue is
suddenly becoming paramount. Of course, ideally we should take somebody from
Eastern Europe, and maybe somebody from Northern Europe to have diversity.
But the representatives elected by EURALO (in contrast to the ones nominated
by NomCom) come from the rank and file of the ALSes, having shown activity
in the life of the organization, and having acquired the trust of the other

The candidature of Veronica does raise important issues that are orthogonal
to geographical diversity.
First of all, a formal problem, as her candidature does not conform to the
rules that EURALO just gave itself. I appreciate the effort in bending the
rules, but we are going to have for sure the third (or fourth?) Ombudsman
report. And the result can be only one: invalidate the elections. And you
can imagine how this is going to play in favour of ALAC and EURALO.
The second problem, is that as of today, except the people who have
participated to the WSIS process, nobody knows her, nobody knows what are
her priorities (in terms of ICANN-related issues, not only in terms of
general Internet Governance. I have also to add that a couple of people have
privately communicated to me their impression that this is a power issue,
and since there are the votes on the table to elect Veronica, this is a done
deal and who cares about the consequences.

I appreciated very much the position of Dessi Pefeva, when she rejected the
nomination as ALAC representative. Verbatim from her message 2007-04-20:
"This is not for the reason that I am not willing to serve ALAC , but right
the opposite - I 'd like to see how the real work of EURALO starts and how I
can be beneficial for the whole process."
Correct me if I'm wrong, but my reading is: "I want to roll up my sleeves
and work, and we will see when I will have more experience". I find this a
very laudable attitude, that goes in the interest of ALAC and not in the
personal interest.

Anyway, we are now at the point in which a decision has to be taken, and I
don't see any consensus emerging. Incidentally, I was amazed by your
proposal. Basically, you avoid the key issue, which is the difficulty some
ALSes have in endorsing a completely new person, and propose as a
"compromise" that Patrick and Sebastian rotate, starting with the shorter
term. The effect will be that Veronica will not only be elected, but even
elected to the longer term!
I also see that Annette considers your proposal a good one for consensus. I
am also amazed by this idea of consensus. To me, when there are different
opinions, consensus can be reached only by negotiating a potential common
position. And that can only be achieved by compromise. In this case, my
impression is that we have a firm, non-negotiable point: that Veronica be
elected this year.

I don't know how firm and non-negotiable are the points on the other side,
but there are two questions on the floor: how are we going to deal with the
non-respect of rules (the only answer having been that we pretend there's no
problem), and how are we going to deal with the problems in getting somebody
brand new, without having seen her "at work" in ALAC before.

Previously I have launched a proposal, and I would like to know who cannot
live with that and why. The proposal is to postpone Veronicas' election to
next year, when she will have more experience and would have acquired
confidence and trust by everybody. In the meantime, she could serve on the
Board, where she would have anyway the needed visibility, and the
possibility of doing good work.

Anyway, if no compromise is found, and we have to go to an election, are the
rules for election clear and commonly understood by everybody? I am just
checking beforehand, to avoid the after-the-fact "I didn't know, I didn't


> -----Original Message-----
> From: euro-discuss-bounces at atlarge-lists.icann.org 
> [mailto:euro-discuss-bounces at atlarge-lists.icann.org] On 
> Behalf Of Kleinwächter, Wolfgang
> Sent: 03 May 2007 16:34
> To: Discussion for At-Large Europe
> Subject: [EURO-Discuss] ALAC
> Dear EURALOs,
> sorry for being silent for a couple of days. I was travelling 
> (Access to Knowledge Conference at Yale University and 
> Computer Freedom and Privacy Conference in Montreal) and had 
> only frequently access to the net. 
> Reading the discussion on the ALAC election I am both 
> perplexed and confused. The debate is formal and buerocratic 
> and driven by individual interests. My understanding is that 
> the issue is a political one and should be driven by common interests.
> Let me go back to some basic points, reflected in the mission 
> and the value system both of ICANN and ISOC. ISOCs slogan 
> within the WSIS process and elsewhere is "An Internet for 
> All". And it is ICANNs mission to represent the Internet 
> community as a whole. Should it not be the first task of ISOC 
> members working within ICANN to bring people from 
> underpivileged regions, from the edges of the net community, 
> who need help and support, into the broader ICANN community? 
> Should it not be our task to build bridges and to include 
> more constituencies from regions which has not yet been 
> included for a number (mainly economic) reasons into our 
> process? I remember numerous statements from ISOC people in 
> the WSIS process calling for more representation of 
> underprivileged people and groups in the process. Is this 
> serious or hippocarcy? 
> When I proposed Veronica to represent the European internet 
> users in the ALAC my argument was that it would be improper 
> if the European Internet users would be represented only by 
> three representatives coming from three founding member 
> states of the EU (the small Europe of the Six, now we have an 
> EU of 27 with more than 20 European countries outside the 
> EU). To have a domination of the German and French speaking 
> commuity in the representation of European internet users in 
> ALAC would be a wrong message and violate the principle of 
> geographical diversity which we have agreed in our draft of the MoU. 
> If we make such a choice what would be the message to the 
> million of Internet users in the Ukraine, in Belarus, in 
> Russia and in the other Non-EU member states (including the 
> Slavic speaking community within the EU)? Could you imagine 
> that they think "they are not interested in us, this is a 
> closed club of friends of friends networks?"
> I have grown up behind the iron curtain and I understand 
> probably better than other old EU members how painful it is 
> to live in difficult local circumstances with no financial 
> means and a lot of burocratical problems when leaving the 
> country an going to a meeting. Even if you have the 
> individual potential, the intellectual capacity and if you 
> are dedicated to contribute to the debate, without a helping 
> hand nothing will happen and the potential remains unused and 
> does not become part of the process. 
> I have no doubt that both Sebastian and Patrick are well 
> qualified for ALAC as well as tghey are qualified for a lot 
> of other positions within and outside ICANN. Patrick has made 
> a great contribution to the community by organizing the 
> wonderful Luxembourg ICANN meeting. Sebastian is, like me, 
> one of the veterans of ICANN, who has participated in nearly 
> all ICANN meetings and has naturally all the knowledge of an insider. 
> But this is not the point. The point is that we as a European 
> At Large Organisation should be clear in sending political 
> signals both to our own European constituencies and the rest 
> of the world. We take the challenge to bring more people to 
> the Internet community seriously and we are looking for 
> people who can represent also the underprivileged Internet 
> users in our bodies.
> If the main driving force for the application from Patrick 
> and Sebastian is to serve the community I think there are 
> numerous opportunities to do this. There is no need to have a 
> formal position to make the voice heard and to contribute to 
> the ICANN process. Insofar I would encourage Sebastian and 
> Patrick to call each other and to find a way out of the 
> situation which would enable us to move forward by consensus. 
> My proposal would be that either Sebastian or Patrick would 
> accept the one year term this year and next year he would be 
> substituted by the other one.for a two year term. This would 
> guarantee a three year representation of the French speaking 
> Internet community in the ALAC and both would have their ALAC 
> membership in their CV. 
> Hope this will help to move forward, to go back to a positive 
> climate in our discussion and to leave the trouble behind us 
> so that we can concentrate now on substance.
> I used the time so far to prepare a workshop on "Consumer 
> Interests and new gTLDs" for San Juan (details later). And I 
> am also working on an Outreach workshop during the 
> forthcoming ICANN Studienkreis meeting in Warsaw, October 
> 2007. More contribution for other members our community are welcome.
> Best wishes
> Wolfgang
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