Get Informed: The AFRINIC Policy Development Process (PDP)

Policies that govern how Internet number resources are managed and distributed in the AFRINIC region are proposed, discussed and accepted (or rejected) by the AFRINIC community through a bottom up policy development process of consultation and consensus. Ernest Byaruhanga, AFRINIC's Policy Liaison Manager, gives us an overview of how the Policy Development Process works. 

 

Participation in policy discussions happens on the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. mailing list and at twice yearly Public Policy Meetings. The mailing list and the meetings are open to anyone to participate. Transparency is maintained by archiving all policy development mailing list discussions, meeting minutes and audio/video recordings and making them publicly available.   The next Public Policy Meeting, AFRINIC-26, will be held alongside the Africa Internet Summit 2017, (AIS'17) in Nairobi, Kenya, from 21 May - 2 June, 2017. Registration is still open

The PDP 

The AFRINIC community is open to anyone who is interested in Internet development in Africa regardless of their nationality, affiliation or geographical location. AFRINIC acts as the secretariat and facilitator for the AFRINIC community in the policy development process. Any member of the community (from any part of the world) can be part of the Policy Development Working Group (PDWG) - which consists of anyone that is keen on and participates to the Policy development Process through either the mailing list discussions and/or the Public Policy Meetings.


Sami Salih
Sudan

Dewole Ajao
Nigeria

Two community elected co-Chairs guide discussions, gauge consensus and ensure that transparency is upheld. They also ensure that the PDP is followed as per the agreed process. AFRINIC staff help to facilitate the process and provide the necessary tools, such as the mailing list, coordination of the open public policy meetings and impact assessments of proposed policies. 

How it Works 

A community member submits a policy proposal which is published on the AFRINIC website and posted to the public mailing list for the community to discuss. Based on feedback from the community and AFRINIC staff, authors may make changes to the proposal in subsequent versions as necessary. This process takes a minimum of five weeks. The proposal is then presented at the next AFRINIC public policy meeting and the community discusses further on a face-to-face.

Consensus Based 

During the public policy meeting, co-Chairs will determine if there was consensus (general agreement) on the policy proposal, in which case, there is broad community support in favour, and the proposal is moved to the Last Call period for a minimum of two weeks - which enables the community to voice any final concerns or ask for clarification on details that could have emerged during the face-to-face discussions. The proposal is recommended for ratification by the Board if it passes Last Call, or goes back to the mailing list to restart the discussion cycle if there was no consensus after the last call period. 

Ratification 

When the proposal has cleared the Last Call stage and the co-Chairs have declared consensus, co-Chairs submit a report of the discussion to the AFRINIC Board and a recommendation that the proposal be ratified and subsequently implemented. The If the Board agrees that the PDP has been carried out in an open, fair and transparent manner and it is satisfied that consensus has been reached, the Board ratifies the draft policy and implementation can begin. 
The full PDP including timelines is available here.  

Have your Say 

Below is an overview of the proposals to be discussed at the upcoming public policy meeting (see below), AFRINIC-26, being held alongside the Africa Internet Summit 2017, (AIS'17) in Nairobi, Kenya, from 21 May - 2 June, 2017. Registration is still open. If you can't make it in person, remote participation is available for anyone to be part of the discussions.
 
Policy Proposal What issues does the proposal touch on: Who does it impact:
AFPUB-2017-DNS-001-DRAFT-01: Lame Delegations in AFRINIC Reverse DNS

Attempts to speed up DNS query response times while reducing the amount of unnecessary DNS traffic by putting in place a process to monitor, report and remove nameserver records responsible for lame DNS delegations from the AFRINIC whois database and related sources. Lame delegations are usually caused by non-authoritative, unresponsive or non-existent nameservers specified for a certain in-addr.arpa or ip6.arpa domain.

Any network operator-issued IP address space from AFRINIC (or via an AFRINIC LIR) that has gone through the process of setting up reverse DNS delegation by adding domain whois database objects in the AFRINIC whois database.
AFPUB-2016-GEN-002-DRAFT-01: Inbound Transfer Policy Based on the premise that although AFRINIC still has more allocatable IPv4 space, complete exhaustion is still imminent, and without a framework for African companies to receive IP number resources from outside Africa - especially IPv4 resources - the region will be significantly disadvantaged, since the IPv4 space available in the transfer markets is still significant and could benefit companies in Africa that still want more IPv4 space than they will be able to get from AFRINIC. African companies that intend to acquire IPv4 space (and other resources) from the transfer market outside Africa.
AFPUB-2016-GEN-001-DRAFT-04: Internet Number Resources review by AFRINIC The proposal gives AFRINIC authority and a policy process to conduct random or triggered reviews (or audits) of resource utilisation by members, with authority to seize resources whose utilisation is not compliant with policy and terms of the Registration Services Agreement (RSA). All members and their downstream networks are potentially impacted by this proposal, as any member found in breach of policy or RSA consequent to the review will automatically lose any resources issued thereby interrupting any services associated with those resources.
AFPUB-2017-GEN-001-DRAFT-01: Anti-Shutdown-01 Establishes a framework for AFRINIC to deny and withdraw its services to any African government that blocks open Internet access to its citizens for any reason. The proposal potentially impacts any African government as well as other entities (private or public) that have abusiness relationship with the affected government.
AFPUB-2017-V4-001-DRAFT-02: Soft Landing SD

This proposal introduces some modifications to the current soft landing policy (used to manage the distribution of IPv4 address space from the last IANA assigned /8). The changes introduced are:

  • Reducing the maximum allocation size to /16 (in phase 1 of the exhaustion period) and to /20 (in phase 2).
  • Increasing the maximum prefix for phase 2, to bring it closer to average allocation size.
  • Setting the minimum time in which an organization can be issued a maximum allocation size (in either phase) to 36 months.

These provisions are in place to promote the spirit of "soft-landing", which is equitable and fair distribution of the scarce IPv4 resource during its exhaustion.

Any operator of an IP network is impacted, as the proposal establishes restrictions on how much IPv4 address space can be issued by AFRINIC to an organisation over a specified period of time.
AFPUB-2016-V4-001-DRAFT-04: IPv4 Soft Landing-BIS

The current IPv4 Soft Landing policy (CPM 5.4) does not explicitly provide for special considerations to new seekers of IP address space, which this version attempts to correct. Most importantly, the current policy does not provide means to encourage and promote IPv6 update, an insufficiency that is well provided for in this policy proposal.

The new proposal also attempts to fix the maximum allocation value at /18, and reserves a /12 for facilitation of IPv6 deployment.

Current AFRINIC members will be mainly affected by provisions of this proposal, especially with regards to the maximum allocation restriction. The proposal will positively impact latecomers into the IPv4 foray, as there is some supply certainty in the medium term, albeit limited.
AFPUB-2017-V4-002-DRAFT-01: Route Aggregation Policy Mitigating routing table size by promoting allocation of contiguous IPv4 blocks to network operators. AFRINIC members will be assured, wherever possible, of being allocated a contiguous block of IPv4 space.

AFPUB-2017-GEN-002-DRAFT-01:

AFRINIC Policy Development Process Bis

The proposal is a complete replacement to the current Policy Development Process - PDP (Sec 3 of the Consolidated Policy Manual) and attempts to address many of the common problems in the current PDP - such as duplication of proposals which attempt to address the same problem, having proposals with weak problem statements and proposals that are out of scope of the PDP.

Other quick highlights from the new proposed PDP are:

  • Having a Chair assisted by a Vice-Chair (instead of co-chairs) and clearly defining their roles in the PDP, as well as defining how they exercise their authority and power.
  • Clarifying the consensus process by introducing the concept of major and minor objections and how the Chair uses these concepts to gauge consensus.
  • Introducing different phases a policy proposal from adoption through last call to Board ratification.
  • Establishing provisions on how the Board adopts a policy in-line with article 11.4 of the AFRINIC by-laws.
  • Putting in place a clear framework for disputes and appeals in the PDP.
The PDP is the process that determines the method to develop policies which govern how AFRINIC manages and distributes IP addresses and other number resources to network operators in Africa. Changes to this process can be far reaching, and any member and prospective member should carefully study any changes to and participate in any discussions that attempt to change the PDP.
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