[AFRI-Discuss] Fwd: meeting and raison d'être

Hawa Diakite hawadiakite at gmail.com
Wed Aug 6 10:40:30 EDT 2008

mail from Alan


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Alan Levin <alan at futureperfect.co.za>
Date: 2008/8/5
Subject: [AFRI-Discuss] meeting and raison d'être
To: "All Accredited At Large Structures ((ALS)) in Africa" <
afri-discuss at atlarge-lists.icann.org>, At-Large Staff <
staff at atlarge.icann.org>

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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