[AFRI-Discuss] meeting and raison d'être

Alan Levin alan at futureperfect.co.za
Tue Aug 5 05:47:37 EDT 2008

Hi All,

Firstly, my apologies that I cannot attend the meeting tomorrow.  I  
have a standing appointment at work for Wednesday afternoons at 3pm,  
so I appeal that the next meeting is not set for the same time and  
day. Any other day and time should be fine.

Secondly my apologies for what is going to appear to be a rant. I will  
be honest, I do not think it is useful to have an organization that  
does nothing besides talk about itself all the time. If we continue in  
this vain, I cannot understand what is our (Afralos) raison d'être.  
(i.e. In the last 35 emails to the list they have contained ONLY  
information about who are members, thanks and blank or forwarded  
emails. The one exception is Nicks email asking 'why are we existing'  
which seems to be the question in hand).

Some comments inline wrt agenda (which is consistent with all other  

On 05 Aug 2008, at 10:06 AM, Didier Rukeratabaro Kasole wrote:
> Please find next telconference agenda for your comment:

Please can you ensure that the agenda is distributed at least a few (2  
or more) days before the meeting so that people can comment and  
contribute. My sense is that it need not be huge, just that it always  
has at least a draft agenda, date and time of the meeting plus  
information about how to join.

> Adoption of the agenda
> Roll Call Apologies from the Members (if any)
> Designation of a Chair for the meeting
> Welcom to MACIS
> Staff announcements

These seem to all be formalities....  IMHO this could all be sent and  
completed via email (well as much as possible). It shouldn't take more  
than 2 minutes on the telephone call if it is to be productive.

> Improving regional communications ( ALS in Africa)

I do not think that this is the purpose of the AfRALO. I am already a  
member of 8 other lists where African Internet (and ICANN) issues are  
discussed. In addition there are regular African meetings at ICANN  
events. My sense is that the communications are pretty good. The thing  
I do not understand is where are all the policy discussions that  
relate to African Internet Users, please advise me.

> Interactions with Other RALOS

IMHO, this is the job of the AfRALO representatives and we should get  
some written feedback from them about these. It still does not address  
any material issues that relate to our purpose: Where are all the  
policy discussions that relate to African Internet Users?

> Review of the Action Items :  Discussions  ALAC review

I'm interested to see what comes up here (in the ALAC review).

I recently read on one of the lists where they actually discuss policy  
that relates to end users. As a stub for discussion on policy issues  
that relate to our members, and proposed agenda item, I ask the  
following questions about:

The GNSO reform
There is a GNSO reform underway. My understanding is that the GNSO is  
where the work is done that goes to the Board for decision making. It  
also is responsible for a great deal of the inter-constituency debate  
and recommendations that come from that.

One of the reasons for the reform was that the GNSO was not balanced  
wrt interests being represented. Initially the business constituencies  
controlled 9 out of 10 votes  (the other one was the non-commercial  
constituency which is the closest to end user or public interests).  
Later, registries and registrars were given some voting, which  
balanced the commercial groups but industry suppliers had too much  

In Paris a small working group was established to review the GNSO  
structure. They appear to be in agreement that there should be a  
balanced number of votes between commercial and non-commercial  
interests in the GNSO. (I expect that we all see end users as non- 
commercial).  Unfortunately it has become clear that the ALAC  
representative in this group does not appear supportive of this  
proposed balance. This seems completely wrong, can anyone (ideally one  
of our elected representatives on the ALAC) please explain why this is  
the case? Surely it is our mandate to ensure that users have a voice  
in the GNSO?

Apparently the ALAC representative on the working group is a Nomcom  
appointee and was mainly concerned with retaining Nomcom appointed  
seats. I am not sure if we agree with that. In my opnion, if we  
(Afralo) were operating efficiently, it may be better for us to  
appoint the GNSO representative in place of the Nomcom. What do you  

The feelings I've expressed in this email are not only my perception,  
even those not involved in the ALAC at all are saying: "we see ALAC  
bogged down in its own internal politics and somewhat disconnected  
from the larger issues".

I look forward to reading any comments.



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