FINAL VERSION SUBMITTED (IF RATIFIED)
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FINAL DRAFT VERSION TO BE VOTED UPON BY THE ALAC
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DRAFT SUBMITTED FOR DISCUSSION
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See: Google Doc (comment-only)
AT-LARGE ADVISORY COMMITTEE
ALAC Statement on Enhancing the Effectiveness of ICANN’s Multistakeholder Model - Next Steps
EE/staff to complete (ALAC statement on following page)
ALAC Statement on Enhancing the Effectiveness of ICANN’s Multistakeholder Model - Next Steps
Intro: At large is pleased to respond to this request for comments on next steps in the evolution of ICANN's multistakeholder model. ALAC represents the interests of the end user community etc. etc. .............
- Priority issues vs. "low hanging fruit"
At Large is concerned about the current ranking of issues that remain before us. We note that the final 6 issues identified by the community as essential to the evolution of ICANN's multistakeholder model at have now been reranked into 3 priority issues and 3 "other" issues. In contrast, the previous request for comments (February 2020) asked the community to identify issues that were already being addressed in some way, that could be considered "low hanging fruit" and others that were more fundamental and would have to be approached in more holistic ways. We think it is important to retain that original representation of these issues. We would describe the issues "Prioritization of work/efficient use of resources" and "Precision and scoping the work" as "low hanging fruit" -- items that are already being addressed in multiple ways -- as the current report clearly points out.
Although we are sensitive to the fact that bandwidth to deal with issues is limited and that solutions to process issues like prioritization and scoping are already in the pipeline, that does not cause other issues on the list to become less important. We emphasize that all six of these issues, having already been culled from a list of 21 issues, are "priority issues." Unless all issues are addressed, we will have a more efficient version of the same model, not an evolution of the model as was the original intention.
We note that community participants are invited to initiate their own actions to help address additional work areas. Regretfully, framed this way, this no longer feels like a community-wide push to improve the system but an invitation to single constituencies to "go it alone." For overstretched. under-resourced volunteer based groups, this is not a viable way forward.
In order to restore the balance of attention to priority issues, At Large seeks a timeline that would see all issues addressed by the end of the current 5 year strategic plan.
- Moving out of silos
We reiterate our message in previous submissions (Feb. 2020, Oct. 2019, June 2019) that ICANN's multistakeholder model cannot evolve without a wholistic review of roles and responsibilities within the system. At Large questions a structure where the policy decisions take place in a constituency where the registries/registrars, civil society and the business communities, are represented whereas the security community, governments and end users are relegated to advisors -- in short, where some of the multi stakeholders are more equal than others.
As noted in the current description on the consensus, representation and inclusivity issue - "the community has difficulty reaching consensus in policymaking and other work processes for a variety of reasons, primarily among which is a lack of incentives for stakeholders to compromise." Until such time as there is a much stronger incentive for the main players in the GNSO to compromise, then the solutions to the third main issue - consensus - will be illusive. Silos are a major contributor to this problem.
We have suggested, in our response to the ATRT3 report that the recommendation to replace specific reviews with a Holistic Review be swiftly implemented. We believe that this would result in a uniform process aimed towards ensuring continuous improvement of the ICANN community and the multistakeholder governance model it represents, as per Section 8 of the ATRT3 final report. If there is one holistic review, then the more important issues of silos, complexity and trust have to be addressed, particularly the silos - raising questions about cross community dialogue and how to support it.
- Restoring recruitment and demographics
With respect to consensus, representation and inclusivity, we are concerned about the omission of the closely related topics of demographics and recruitment. The footnote at the bottom of page 4 states: "The Business Constituency, in its public comments regarding the work plan, suggested a seventh topic - Recruitment and Demographics. As there was no other support for the inclusion of this topic, it has not been fully explored as part of this project." We find this puzzling. In its response to the October 2019 request of comments, At Large contributed quite a number of suggestions towards supporting and growing active and concerned stakeholder participation. We spoke of representativeness and inclusiveness and demographics and recruitment in terms of partner issues. In its next response, (Feb. 2020), At Large stated quite clearly that we believe that representativeness/inclusiveness and demographics/recruitment were two inter-related but different streams. Although At Large did not specifically ask for recruitment and demographics to be added as a seventh topic, our comments on these topics over the three consecutive comment papers emphasize our view of the importance of these issues.
The analysis of responses to the requests for comments ought to have taken ALACs concerns into account and found a way to include recruitment and demographics as part of the discussion. We ask that this omission be rectified.
- Reviewing previous responses
We find that this request for comments forces us into narrow funnel that does not take into account much of the work the community has done on the the evovling MSM model. In researching our response to this report, we have reviewed our own responses to previous requests for comments to the evolving MSM model and note that we have been asked for and have contributed a great many suggestions already on actions and activities that could be undertaken to improve the way ICANN's MSM model works and we are sure, so have all other stakeholder groups involved. We see no evidence of this work in the current report.
We request that ICANN staff create and release a document that analyses the responses that have already been offered and how these suggestions fit into the issues that have been identified. This should lead to a community discussion about the efficacy of those suggestions.
- Identifying gaps
We expect that a staff analysis of our previous responses will fill in some of the gaps in the current paper. To these we add the following:
On the issue of prioritization:
We note that the ALAC fully endorses the recommendation to enhance current methods of Prioritization and Rationalization of Activities, Policies, and Recommendations (as per Section 10 of the ATRT3 report). This needs to be done through a community-led entity tasked with conducting a prioritization process for recommendations made by review teams and cross-community groups.
Prioritization for At Large starts from the regions and is then put forward to the SO/AC chairs. Recognizing that SOs set direction for the work activities, the inputs each region puts into that discussion will help prioritize for At Large workload purposes.
We suggest that the development of learning materials go beyond webinars and ICANN learn with community driven initiatives such as:
Schools of internet governance
Central database for all resources that are being developed regionally and centrally including ppts, video recording, info on respecting copyright, etc.
- Pandemic related issues
Since the onset of the cod-vid19 pandemic, ICANN processes and the work of staff and volunteers have been seriously disrupted and this will certainly affect our work on evolving the MSM model. But redesigned processes can shed new light. At the recent online public meetings, we were pleased at the multistakeholder turnout to the ALAC policy sessions. All parties were around the table to discuss solutions, or at least explain what they are doing to address the issues. We suggest that this pattern be continued during future public meetings, virtual and face to face. It takes the discussions out of the silos, clarifies the issues, allows all parties to be heard.
ICANN public meetings should continue to feature policy sessions where ALAC is the host, asking the questions, seeking better explanations (thus addressing the complexity issue) breaking down the silos - and in the process, starting to redefine roles.
ALAC also recommends that ICANN consider making more use of regional face to face meetings once we start to emerge from this crisis.
- Evaluation of success
(From the report: The Board proposes an ongoing evaluation method, which may be connected to the evaluation of the strategic plan which is under discussion. The Board is also open to suggestions for other approaches that may help us better understand if the project is achieving its goals. For example, should progress be evaluated based on meeting objectives within a particular time frame or budget? Or should more subjective metrics be used, such as: Is there a sense that consensus is better defined and thus more achievable? Would partial progress on these goals be sufficient to declare the effort a success?)
The At-Large community supports a metrics-based approach to community work and participation, among others through the ALAC Subcommittee on Metrics. Adjusting all community processes to a clear metrics framework would significantly benefit the work done by the diverse, intercultural multistakeholder community, as it currently stands. We are in agreement with the recommendations on metrics and reporting presented in section 9 of the ATRT3 report.
One of the points I think At large should address is the way in which the 6 issues identified by the community as essential to the evolution of the multistakeholder model at ICANN have been reranked into 3 priority issues and 3 "other" issues. The language of the previous request for comments asked the community to identify issues that were already being addressed in some way, that could be considered "low hanging fruit" and others that were more fundamental and would have to be approached in more holistic ways. This reranking should be cause for concern as the community, over a 2 year period, identified all 6 of these issues as essential. Although we are sensitive to the fact that bandwidth to deal with issues is limited and it makes sense to address issues like prioritization and scoping up front but that does not cause other issues on the list to become less important.
I totally agree with Marita. From Day one when I first became involved in ICANN, I questioned a stucture where the decision making is done where the registries/registrars, and to a lesser extent, the business communities, are represented. The rest of us, the security community, governments and users are simply advisors. To quote from the description on Item 3: consensus, representation and inclusivity - the main issue is the lack of stakeholders (registries/registrars, business community) willingness to compromise. In short, some of the multi stakeholders are more equal than others. Until such time as there is a much stronger incentive for the main players in the GNSO to compromise, then the solutions to the third main issue - Consensus - will be illusive.
Oddly, the online meetings have been beneficial. ALAC has run some really good policy sessions, where all parties are around the table and have had to discuss solutions, or at least explain what they are doing to address the issues. And perhaps one of the solutions is to keep running policy sessions where ALAC is the host, asking the questions, seeking better explanations (thus addressing the complexity issue) breaking down the silos - and in the process, starting to redefine roles. It takes the discussions out of the silos, clarifies the issues, allows all parties to be heard.
A summary - take the bottom three issues - about the roles, about silos and complexity - and solve them first. My fear - the less important issues - prioritisation of work, and precision and scoping of work - GNSO tasks - will come first, thus sidelining the bigger issues of silos, complexity and trust.
Our upcoming comment on the ATRT3 review states that the ICANN must
I think we should reflect this in this the comment paper being developed here
I agree with Marita. If there is one holistic review, then the more important issues of silo, complexity and trust have to be addressed, particularly the silos - raising questions about cross community dialogue and how to support it.
I have reviewed our interventions in the last 3 rounds of MSM comments (20 pages) and we have made many constructive suggestions which seem to have completely dropped off the map. Rather than doing it all over again, I think we should ask ICANN to produce a document letting us know how all constituencies responded to the various issues we have covered over the last 16 months and how these responses were dealt with
Abdulkarim Ayopo Oloyede
I agree that we need to ask those question.
I am concerned about the grouping of consensus, representation and inclusivity along with the loss of the issue of recruitment and demographics. We had a lot to say about this in our last submission. It ties representation and inclusivity directly to GNSO initiated activities but there is not place for a discussion of how that representation is to be achieved.. Our concerns are not reflected in the current document AT ALL!
Curiously, there is a footnote in the report (page 4) as follows:
"The Business Constituency, in its public comments regarding the work plan, suggested a seventh topic - Recruitment and Demographics. As there was no other support for the inclusion of this topic, it has not been fully explored as part of this project."
I am at a loss to explain this!!!
@Holly –in your statement above
"From Day one when I first became involved in ICANN, I questioned a structure where the decision making is done where the registries/registrars, and to a lesser extent, the business communities, are represented. The rest of us, the security community, governments and users are simply advisors. "
you do not mention the civil society component (NCSG) in this list. Where do you see that fitting in to this statement.
You're correct - the GNSO does contain constituencies other than the registry/registrar group. And the standard differentiation is that the NCSG represents civil society - as opposed to the ALAC - representing end users. Again, from the deep dark past, I was part of a few people who tried to create another constituency in the GNSO that actually represented consumers, since it was clear then - and now - that decisions can be made through the GNSO process that ignore views of the advisory committees - including the views of end users - consumers. (the latest - final - report on the EPDP bears that out) . No surprises that it was rejected. Indeed, one of the more interesting statements from M Mueller at the open session in an earlier ICANN meeting was that the GNSO structure was broken - didn't work anymnore.
Abdulkarim Ayopo Oloyede
generally speaking , I totally agree that there is a need to ask questions about the scaling down in terms of how and why but I also believe there is a need there is a need to scale down in line with the reality most of the work cant be done remotely or in current circumstance giving the current situation . My suggestion would be to either purse or rewind back so that each community can rethink and reprioritise what is possible or not rather than it done the other way. there is absolutely no point having a time line that is most likely unrealistic. The operating and strategic plan were written at a time entirely different and the truth is thing is likely never going to be same again. I can give example of how things have changed in terms of work done either in a positive or negative way. for example the work done by Project Cost Support Team at a time when there is no need for social distancing might not be applicable in future. the earlier we plan and accept the new reality the better. this has happened in the past that we see things coming like GDPR but waited till it has to be expedited.
Consensus representation and inclusivity are 3 critical areas that lumping them together would not allow for critical representation neither would it allow for better inclusivity . representation and inclusivity influences consensus no doubt but they have to be addressed in such a way that the diversity of priorities of each end users can be taken into consideration in reaching consensus. reaching consensus is all about negotiation but the negotiating parties have to all be on the table seating comfortably and it can be achieved when some are standing at the table. Addressing this issue would be first to provide a comfortable seat for every one, this does not mean same type of seat but a comfortable one .