Independent Examiner’s Final Recommendation
At-Large should adopt the proposed Empowered Membership Model (EMM) with a view to removing the barriers to participation for Internet end-users, and encouraging greater direct participation by At-Large members in At-Large policy advice and related “Outreach and Engagement” processes. (See EMM Recs)
At-Large has struggled to reflect/process end user-opinion; barriers to individual participation; perception of unchanging leadership group.
Does ALAC Support Recommendation?
|The ALAC rejects the EMM as recommended by the Review. The ALAC does, however agree with the of some aspects of the EMM and will address them under the EMM-specific recommendations.
If Not, Please Provide Reasoning.
The ALAC believes that if several aspects of the EMM were implemented, the end effect would be to irreparably damage At-Large's ability to fulfill its mandate in ICANN. Among these changes are the merger of RALO Officer and ALAC Member roles, the elimination of the ALAC ability to select appropriate Liaisons to other ICANN AC/SOs.
This recommendation includes two related elements. The first and main element sets the goal of more participation by individual At-Large members in ICANN Working Groups. The second, subordinate element suggests a method by which the goal, in the opinion of the reviewers, would be achieved.
The ALAC supports the goal and notes that work to achieve it is already well underway. But it resolutely rejects the suggested method, which is not necessary for achieving the goal, and could lead to unintended consequences detrimental to At-Large and to ICANN itself. However, the ALAC does support the prime intent of the Empowered Membership Model (EMM) - to ensure that all regions can and will accept Individual Members.
The EMM is effectively a generalization of the Individual Members concept that currently exists in three of the five RALOs. The ALAC supports the overall concept, and fully intends to ensure that such members are allowed into all RALOs. To be clear, the ALAC supports enhancing the focus on those individual user members not affiliated with an ALS.
No evidence is presented as to why or how the vote-empowered membership will be significantly more attractive to end-users world-wide (It must be noted that in most other parts of the ICANN volunteer community, the potential participants are well acquainted with ICANN. This is certainly true for Registrar, Registries, Internet Service Providers, Intellectual Property Lawyers, etc. This is definitely not the general case with users, even technology-savvy users), or why the ongoing potential to vote will encourage people to actively participate in what has been acknowledged as a complex, and time-intensive space. Moreover, many of these users are not fluent in English which is the language used for most of these activities and no proposal is presented on how that might be overcome.
The ALAC has found it difficult to get ALS members to participate in working groups, At-Large or Cross Community, mainly due to the fact that they are all volunteers and do not all share the same commitment of time, or similar levels of expertise or knowledge on the content areas. With the intensified engagement required to get up to speed, the ALAC does not see that the number of people interested in, motivated enough and ready to carry out the voluntary services required within At-Large would be any different between the ALS model and the EMM model. Moreover, “direct” participation by an increased number of individual members, does not guarantee that they can truly represent the interests of billions of end-users any more effectively than the current model, where ALSes at least provide outreach capacity at local level.
There are more elements of the EMM model which the ALAC continues to have difficulty comprehending, not only as to the rationale but also to the value that they would give the At-Large Community, for example, giving Empowered Members the right to vote for their leaders or on other actions, should a vote ever be initiated. As ALAC and RALO decision-making is often by consensus, it is difficult to understand why this voting issue is such a key feature of EMM. Another example is the use of Rapporteurs, and giving them travel slots after a year. For ALAC members selected by their RALOs, it would be typical that a minimum of two years of active participation in one or more working groups would be expected before members were elected to the ALAC and achieved travel slots. This delay is not to penalise new workers, but to give them the time they need to get up to speed.
The ALAC notes that if this recommendation had been limited to the universal acceptance of individual members with an implicit lessened focus on ALSes, this recommendation would very likely have been fully accepted. However, with the accompanying requirement to redefine RALO Leadership, ALAC Membership and Liaison selection; overly detailed specification of exactly how individual membership should be implemented; and what it should be named, we had no choice but to reject it.
If ALAC Does Not Support Recommendation, Does It Suggest an Alternative Recommendation?
If so, please provide a suggested alternative Recommendation.
The ALAC sees one potential outlet for the objective of enhanced individual participation in the current Fellowship or NextGen programmes. These programmes are geared specifically to get interested and enthusiastic individuals from across the globe up to speed about the workings of the ICANN ecosystem so they can find their own niche areas of interest for subsequent engagement. These are two already successful programmes from which ICANN itself has started recruiting staff, while other former alumni have not only joined the ICANN Community but have also become members of the ALAC and now, even the ICANN Board.
The ALAC believes that the ALS membership model should remain because it is the At-Large link to grassroots inputs. In their local context, ALSes are recognised as established organisations, in some cases older than ICANN itself, and they play a role in national-level multi-stakeholder cooperation that clearly benefits ICANN and the user community they represent. ALS members also form a prime pool of potential At-Large workers, and ALAC and RALO leaders. Plans are underway to enhance outreach to them and to engage those who are intrigued by ICANN and its work.
Ultimately, there may be some merit in more uniform rules for Individual Members across regions. But at the moment, it is clear that the needs and views differ greatly, and allowing regions to address their unique characteristics in in accordance with the ICANN Bylaws section 12.2(d)(ix)(D) "To the extent compatible with these objectives, the criteria and standards should also afford to each RALO the type of structure that best fits the customs and character of its Geographic Region."
Who Will Implement?
Budget Effects impact?
Proposed Implementation Steps