Draft Statement prepared by Mohamed El Bashir - 26 January 2011
The At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) appreciates the excellent work done by the Geographic Regions Review Working Group. The interim report coveres the legacy background information and raises important questions related to the current ICANN region structure.
The At-Large current structure, including the Regional At-Large Organizations (RALOs), which is based on ICANN's five geographical regions, consist of 129 At-Large Structure (ALS) members representing internet users around the world. We believe it is a good example that achieves diversity and representation in using the current ICANN regional structure. The ALSes represent vastly diverse language, ethnic, technical interests within the same region. We are satisfied with the current current ICANN regions structure.
We are, however, concerned regarding proposals to introduce new ICANN regions or splitting the current regions which will severely affect and fragment the current At-Large structure, this concern is also raised by AFRALO in it's regional statement in response to the interim report.
We understand and acknowledge legitimate requests and issues raised related to the current ICANN regions. This is specifically the issue of the islands nations geographical split between more than one region based on geography and administrative/legal reasons and the status of some Eastern countries like Armenia and Azerbaijan whom according to ICANN regions are part of Asia Pacific region while in other international fora they are members of the European region.
As the demography of internet users is changing and millions of new internet users are joining the internet from emerging or developing countries, the Geographic Regions Working Group Interim Report recommendations should encourage ICANN constituencies (AC/SOs) to review their current membership frameworks to address issues of under-representation of those regions and encourage more active participation from the least represented or active geographical regions .
With specific reference to the Interim Report question on how to ensure cultural diversity, the ALAC encourages the AC/SOs to seek membership of organizations/entities to represent more cultural and linguistic diversity. Value could be added to the ICANN policy development process and each AC/SO could employ tailored procedures to ensure diversity among its members.
ALAC recommends the Geographic Regions Working Group to recommend a regular review of ICANN regions framework every five years review, the review should focus in assessing ICANN regions impact on the issues representation and participation within ICANN AC/SOs.
As with the wide diversity that exists within and between the five At-Large RALOs, including historical, linguistic, cultural and geographic differences, there is also a diversity of perspectives on the issues raised in the Interim Report of the Geographic Regions Working Group. This diversity is evident in the contributions from the RALOs set out below (RALO contributions included in alphabetical order).