ICANN Policy for Comment : http://www.icann.org/en/public-comment/#op-budget-fy12
Summary of AC/SO Budget Requests : http://forum.icann.org/lists/op-budget-fy2012/pdfUNwycLKGih.pdf
The Latin American and Caribbean Regional At-Large Organisation (LACRALO), being the representatives of the Internet end-users in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region, submits our comments regarding ICANN's Draft FY12 Operating Plan and Budget (http://www.icann.org/en/public-comment/#op-budget-fy12).
We appreciate the dialogue with and feedback from ICANN Financial Staff on the evaluation of the ALAC/At-Large budget requests that were submitted for inclusion in ICANN's draft Operational Plan and Budget 2012. We wish to see such dialogue continue in future Operational Plans and Budgets.
However, we note with considerable concern that, once again, many of the budget requests (http://forum.icann.org/lists/op-budget-fy2012/pdfUNwycLKGih.pdf) proposed by At-Large to improve participation of user organizations in ICANN (the base of the pyramid on which the "multi-stakeholder model" sits) were not approved or only partially approved.
From our proposals, the budget for a General Assembly (GA) has been cut to an extent where only 6 ALS representatives will be funded to attend. The LAC region has more than 30 ALSs representatives accredited.
It is impossible to have a successful General Assembly without the physical presence and face to face interaction of all the ALS representatives of the region, especially for a system based on the bottom-up participation and democratic principles which define ICANN. This view has consensus throughout the At-Large community.
These cuts do not only undermine and limit the possibility of real participation in the proposed annual LACRALO General Assembly, but also, given that there is no funding approved for in-reach and out-reach in our region, limit the participation of the end-users of the LAC region in the overall ICANN process. We appreciate the limited efforts made by ICANN to date, but we strongly believe that users should have a large, active and physical presence in all the policy-making processes. There is much more that can be done, but we fear that the budget cuts reflect a lack of commitment to and show a lack of value for end-user participation in ICANN processes.
We believe that, given ICANN’s fiscal resources, this budget can easily be adjusted to ensure funds to support the participation of the ALSes in a General Assembly once a year as well as funds to finance activities related to in-reach and out-reach, if these are truly considered important by the Board and Staff of ICANN.
Regarding LACRALO's proposals for outreach that were not approved, we take note of ICANN's Public Participation Committee (PPC; http://www.icann.org/en/committees/participation/) Work Schedule to create a "Comprehensive Stakeholder Outreach and Engagement Strategy" and look forward to consultations with the PPC to create such a strategy so that it can be implemented as soon as possible. This is crucially important as only 15 out of 33 countries in the LAC region have any At-Large representation.
We look forward to your response and stand ready to discuss the possibilities that could be a solution to this dire situation facing those who by their presence throughout the structure of the Organization, support and legitimise ICANN’s role.