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[sig-policy] prop-108-v001: Suggested changes to the APNIC Policy Development Process



Dear SIG members

The proposal "prop-108-v001: Suggested changes to the APNIC Policy
Development Process" has been sent to the Policy SIG for review. It
will be presented at the Policy SIG at APNIC 36 in Xi'an, China, on
Thursday, 29 August 2013.
We invite you to review and comment on the proposal on the mailing list
before the meeting.

The comment period on the mailing list before an APNIC meeting is an
important part of the policy development process. We encourage you to
express your views on the proposal:

     - Do you support or oppose this proposal?
     - Does this proposal solve a problem you are experiencing? If so,
       tell the community about your situation.
     - Do you see any disadvantages in this proposal?
     - Is there anything in the proposal that is not clear?
     - What changes could be made to this proposal to make it more
       effective?


Information about this policy proposals is available from:

    http://www.apnic.net/policy/proposals/108

Andy, Masato


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

prop-108-v001: Suggested changes to the APNIC Policy Development Process

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Proposers:     Dean Pemberton <dean@internetnz.net.nz>
               Izumi Okutani <izumi@nic.ad.jp>


1.  Introduction
----------------

At APNIC 35 in Singapore, Policy-SIG co-chair Masato Yamanishi delivered
a presentation [PSIG35-1] outlining a number of inconsistencies or areas
of sub-optimisation within the documentation governing the current APNIC
Policy Development Process.  This policy proposal outlines the exact
parts of the documentation that are inconsistent or do not match with
the reality of how the process is implemented.  It also describes the
problems that each of these inconsistencies cause. It seeks to offer
ways to change the required documentation to optimise the APNIC PDP in
these areas in collaboration with the community.


2.  Problem Statement
---------------------

Yamanishi-san highlighted a number of inconsistencies in his
presentation.  This proposal seeks to address three of these, which are
related to the process of the consensus decisions, as they are a core
part of the Policy Development Process (PDP).

The relevant steps in the PDP [APNICPDP-1] to be addressed in this
proposal are presented below for reference purposes:

  - Step 2
    Consensus at the OPM Consensus is defined as "general agreement" as
    observed by the Chair of the meeting. Consensus must be reached
    first at the SIG session and afterwards at the Member Meeting for
    the process to continue. If there is no consensus on a proposal at
    either of these forums, the SIG (either on the mailing list or at a
    future OPM) will discuss whether to amend the proposal or to
    withdraw it.

  - Step 3
    Discussion after the OPM Proposals that have reached consensus at
    the OPM will be circulated on the appropriate SIG mailing list for a
    period of eight weeks. This is known as the "comment period".


A) Timing Requirements for the Policy-SIG chairs to announce consensus
   in the Open Policy Meeting (OPM)
   ------------------------------------------------------------------

   Section 4 of APNIC PDP document requires that âConsensus must be
   reached first at the SIG session and afterwards at the Member Meeting
   for the process to continue.â

   While neither the PDP document nor the SIG Guidelines specify the
   timing of consensus, current practice is for the chairs to decide if
   consensus has been reached immediately after calling for consensus
   from the floor. This does not allow enough time for the chairs to
   make their consensus decision based on the consideration of various
   factors raised from the floor as well as discussion among themselves.

   In recent meetings there have been situations where consensus has
   been particularly hard to gauge.  This may be due to a smaller number
   of strongly held opinions, or an even split between supporters and
   objectors.  In these cases it may assist the Policy-SIG chairs in
   returning an appropriate decision if more time was afforded them for
   internal discussion.  This is particularly relevant where there might
   be disagreement between the Chairs.


B) Requiring for consensus to be called and demonstrated at the AMM
   ----------------------------------------------------------------

   As above Section 4 of APNIC PDP document requires that âConsensus
   must be reached first at the SIG session and afterwards at the Member
   Meeting for the process to continue.â

   In practice today this is followed exactly.  At the OPM a policy
   proposal is required to gain consensus, and then the same consensus
   is required to be shown at the AMM on the next day.  While this may
   not be considered a real problem, it can not be argued that it is an
   effective use of time and resources.

   This process of calling for consensus once in the OPM and again at
   the AMM has its history in the days when different SIGs, working in
   isolation, may have produced conflicting policies at same meeting.
   Calling for consensus at the AMM was a way for these conflicts to
   come to light and give the community a final chance to support one
   but not both of the policies proposed by the different SIGs.

   At APNIC today the Policy-SIG is only SIG that has a mandate to
   propose policy changes.  As such the process of calling for consensus
   at the OPM as well as the AMM is redundant.  If members have
   objections, they can are free to participate in the OPM which is held
   the day before the AMM in the same venue.


C) The length of the required comment period for successful policy
   proposals after the AMM
   ---------------------------------------------------------------

   As above Section 4 of APNIC PDP document requires that âProposals
   that have reached consensus at the OPM will be circulated on the
   appropriate SIG mailing list for a period of eight weeks. This is
   known as the "comment period".

   In practice, once a proposal has been through discussion on the
   mailing list, been presented an OPM for further discussion, and
   successfully demonstrated consensus of the community, there are
   little or no comments generated within the eight week subsequent
   comment period. Most concerns are raised within two weeks after the
   call for final comments.  It should also be noted that there has not
   been a case where a new opinion raised more than four weeks after the
   call for final comments. Chairs should be able to judge whether there
   are substantial concerns for the consensus within a shorter period.

   Eight weeks is a significant amount of time to allow for additional
   comments after a policy proposal has gained consensus at the OPM.  It
   is in fact longer than the entire discussion period under which the
   proposal was presented.

   At present all the 8 week comment period serves to do is
   significantly delay the implementation of policy which been
   demonstrated to have the consensus of the community.


3. Objective of Policy Change
---------------------------

To optimise and/or disambiguate procedures carried out under the current
APNIC PDP.


4. Proposed Policy Solution
---------------------------

This section will propose changes which seek to resolve the problems
outlined above.


A) Timing Requirements for the Policy-SIG chairs to announce consensus
   in the Open Policy Meeting (OPM)
   ------------------------------------------------------------------

   In order to ensure that the SIG chairs have time to discuss any
   issues relevant to considering consensus for or against a proposal,
   the first paragraph of Step 2 of the PDP should be replaced with:

   --------[APNICPDP-1]--------

   Step 2. Consensus at the OPM

   Consensus is defined as "general agreement" as observed by the Chair
   of the meeting.  The Chair, at their sole discretion, may wish to
   confer with their Co-Chairs before judging consensus.  This
   discussion may occur in private and the final determination of
   consensus should be given by the Chair before the end of the OPM.

   The Chair should ensure that it is made clear if consensus is
   currently being gauged on part of a proposal, or the proposal in its
   entirety.  This will ensure that OPM participants are clear in their
   responses.

   --------[APNICPDP-1]--------


B) Requiring for consensus to be called and demonstrated at the AMM
   ---------------------------------------------------------------

   In order to relax the requirement for some policies to gain consensus
   at both the OPM and the Member Meeting, the second paragraph of Step
   2 of the PDP should be replaced with:

   --------[APNICPDP-1]--------

   Consensus must be reached at the SIG session.  The SIG Chair may, at
   their sole discretion, seek an additional call for consensus at the
   Member Meeting for the process to continue. If the call for consensus
   on a proposal at either of these forums is not successful, the SIG
   (either on the mailing list or at a future OPM) will discuss whether
   to amend the proposal or to withdraw it.

   --------[APNICPDP-1]--------


C) The length of the required comment period for successful policy
   proposals after the AMM
   ---------------------------------------------------------------

   In order to allow for the shortening of this period, Step 2 of the
   PDP should be replaced with:

   --------[APNICPDP-1]--------

   Proposals that have reached consensus at the OPM will be circulated
   on the appropriate SIG mailing list for a period, the duration will
   not be shorter than two weeks but may be extended on a case-by-case
   basis at the sole discretion of the Chair.  This is known as the
   "comment period".

   --------[APNICPDP-1]--------


5.  Pros/Cons
-------------

Advantages:

   The changes outlined above will ensure that the APNIC PDP is kept
   inline with best current practice of the operation of the SIGs

Disadvantages:

   There is a possibility that by removing a requirement for consensus
   at the AMM that APNIC members not present at the OPM may not feel
   that they have endorsed a proposal.  Given that the OPM occurs the
   day before the AMM in the same location, it would not be unreasonable
   to assume that any interested party would have already provided
   feedback during the OPM however.


6.  Impact on APNIC
-------------------

These changes will ensure that the development of policy within APNIC
continues to occur in a standardised, consistent framework.


7.  References
------------------

[APNICPDP-1] APNIC policy development process - 19 February 2004
Accessed from http://ftp.apnic.net/apnic/docs/policy-development.txt

[PSIG35-1] Yamanishi, M., âAPNIC35 Policy-SIG Informational: Questions
for Clarification in the APNIC PDPâ, APNIC 35, Singapore, 28 February
2013.  Accessed from
http://conference.apnic.net/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/58992/ambiguouts
-points-in-pdp-2013027_1361972669.pdf