[ppml] Afrinic and so-called sub-regional policies

Michael.Dillon at radianz.com Michael.Dillon at radianz.com
Tue Sep 30 11:02:28 EDT 2003

It is now clear that ARIN will soon be handing over the responsibility to 
Afrinic to manage Internet numbering resources for parts of the African 
continent which have previously been the responsibility of ARIN. In order 
to facilitate this handover, Afrinic has organized itself and begun to 
function as an African organization. And out of that "functioning", the 
members of Afrinic have collectively agreed that a certain policy change 
is needed to better support the networks in their region. The only awkward 
point here is that ARIN has not yet "officially" handed over 
responsibility to Afrinic. Presumably this "official" handover needs to be 
agreed to by ICANN before it takes place.

Thus we have proposal 2003-15 before us because ARIN is currently the only 
organization that can officially change the policy that affects these 
African organizations. We could either reject it, delay it, or accept it.

This would change nothing for North American ISPs. The idea of "setting 
precedent" for ARIN policy is a red herring since neither the ARIN charter 
nor the law prevent ARIN from overturning its own policies. In fact, 
rejection would only delay this change until the point where Afrinic is 
truly independent of ARIN. But rejection would set a precedent of sorts by 
giving a distinctly negative impression of ARIN members that could affect 
future global addressing policy activities.

If we neither accept nor reject the proposal but instead accept it with 
modifications this will result in a delay until the next member meeting. 
This suffers from the same "bad image" issue as rejection but on a larger 
scale because now we are tinkering with the Afrinic policy and meddling in 
African affairs.

By doing this we are supporting Afrinic as an independent organization 
that is able to make its own policy decisions for its own members. I 
believe this is the only reasonable choice for ARIN members and it's not 
based on the contents of the policy but on the fact that it is a policy 
for Africans that was made by Africans. I don't believe that it sets any 
precedent for so-called sub-regions because this policy is actually about 
uniting the regions of a continent, not about subdividing. Internal North 
American issues are irrelevant to 2003-15. This is a unique situation that 
will not happen again and an opportunity for us to make a gesture of 
goodwill towards the ISPs in southern African countries.

We have plenty of proposed policy changes to discuss that do have very 
real impacts on our organizations and we've spent too much effort already 
on 2003-15. Let's move on, rubberstamp the Afrinic proposal, and focus 
most of our energy on the North American issues that really matter.

Michael Dillon
Capacity Planning, Prescot St., London, UK
Mobile: +44 7900 823 672    Internet: michael.dillon at radianz.com
Phone: +44 20 7650 9493    Fax: +44 20 7650 9030

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