Internet policies require greater community involvement
Since its creation, LACNIC has promoted a self-regulation model based on rules and mechanisms established and developed by the regional community through public, open and transparent participation processes.
In other words, the policies in place for managing Internet resources in Latin America and the Caribbean have been determined by consensus. This openness and distribution of functions has been possible thanks to stakeholder participation in LACNIC’s policy development process, a key element of the organization’s current operation and success.
LACNIC’s Public Policy Forum is one of the organization´s most valuable tools in the search for consensus. Carlos Plasencia, Chair of the Public Policy Forum, highlights the community’s active participation but calls for greater involvement of new members to add to the group of “regulars” usually proposing and discussing most of the policies.
What is the Public Policy Forum?
– The Public Policy Forum is a process through which the community can propose, discuss and comment on the rules that govern Internet number resources in Latin America.
What is the role of the Public Policy Forum?
– Developing the Policy Manual is a bottom-up process. This means that anyone can propose changes and amendments to how IP addresses, ASNs and other resources are currently allocated. The Public Policy Forum allows each member to exercise their right to vote and discuss whether or not a proposed policy gets to be applied.
What types of issues are discussed at the Forum?
– Mainly issues related to routing within the region, such as the requirements for receiving IPv4 and IPv6 address blocks, autonomous system numbers, how to manage resources that have been returned to LACNIC, and other topics such as allocation records and resource transfers. Policy proposals that might result in improvements or benefits for LACNIC members are also discussed.
How often does the Forum meet?
The Forum meets twice a year, within the framework of LACNIC´s annual events. This is where policy proposals are presented and votes are cast, where policy proposals are approved or return to the Public Policy List.
How else can the community make its opinions heard?
Despite the fact that the Forum meets biannually, during the year policies are discussed on the public Policy mailing list, which is where policy proposals are presented and discussed in-depth.
In addition, an online conference system has been implemented that provides the author of a proposal the chance to discuss the policy with other participants in real time and makes it easier to present the various points of view.
What do you think of the LACNIC community’s participation in the Public Forum?
– Participants consist mainly of a group of members we might call “the regulars,” as they practically always contribute their points of view and opinions on each policy proposal. The community at large, however, exhibits only moderate levels of participation, mostly when the effects of the policy under discussion are very direct. This is why we are trying to find ways to attract a larger part of the community and encourage them to become actively engaged.
Why do you think participation should be even stronger?
– As I previously mentioned, the Policy Manual is created and modified by the community, so members´ opinions and input is essential and necessary. Becoming involved in this process implies working on the mechanisms through which each member receives their resources and has the ability to decide how the rules under which they are governed are handled.