25 November 2014 - Recently, there has been much discussion regarding the allocation of large blocks of address space by AFRINIC. Specifically, these discussions have focused on allocations of space which some members of the community feel is being utilized off continent and not for the benefit of the AFRINIC service region.
The board of AFRINIC has followed these discussions closely,and has also sought explanations from management on the matter. It needs to be stated that the board in its deliberations on the issue is being guided by certain AFRINIC founding principles. Namely: a) AFRINIC is governed by its bylaws which were agreed to by the members, and as such without a request from the members and a vote by means of a special resolution to modify these bylaws, it would be wrong for the board to step outside of these governing principles. b) AFRINIC IP allocations are governed by policies as set forth through the policy development process. The policy development process is well documented and finds its legitimacy through the community and bylaws. Neither the board nor internal management of AFRINIC have been given a mandate which allows for the violation of the policies defined through the policy development process, except in the case where the board feels an urgent and necessary policy is needed with immediate effect. In this exception, such emergency policy would still require ratification by the community at the next public meeting.
The board has been given every assurance that AFRINIC staff followed the IP allocation policy with regards to all allocations already made. Consequently, the board cannot retroactively act on these allocations because of perceived unhappiness in the community. To do so would be to disregard the RSA and current policies which are in place and the policy formulation process that has been defined and agreed upon by the community. With regards to future allocations, again, it is the responsibility of the board to provide a reasonable level of assurance to the community that the company is acting within the bylaws and the policies defined. It is of concern to the board that despite much debate, it is clear that the current policies may potentially allow for external parties to drain AFRNIC of large pools of resources with little benefit to the region. That being said, this concern must be weighed against the will of the community as expressed through the policy development process. It should also be clearly stated that the board does not review allocations, and allocations submitted to AFRINIC are handled by staff. Considering all of the above, the Board has advised the staff to proceed with any applications as per current policies.
In the case of any dispute, the Board is looking at dispute resolution mechanisms. Staff have already reported to the community in the past, observations on current policy implementation can be found at http://internetsummitafrica.org/images/AIS14_assets/powerpoint_template/af20_policy_implementat_report.ppt
The board appeals to the community and to the AFRINIC members to examine the current policies in light of the discussions held in recent weeks and should the community feel that a change is needed, the board encourages the members to follow the processes defined and propose suitable changes to the current policies.
Sunday A. Folayan
Chair, AFRINIC Board