[ppml] RE: [arin-announce] NRO Response to ITU Comments on the Management of Internet Protocol (IP) Addresses

Gregory Massel gregm at datapro.co.za
Wed Nov 17 03:54:13 EST 2004

> Gregory,
> I hope you understand that I do and have supported AfriNIC from the 
> outset.
> It is understandable that African governments would believe it strategic 
> to
> their future to be involved in Global technology governance...I too 
> believe
> it is.  I would ask (you, those governments, the wind), though if becoming
> members of AfriNIC in the future or ARIN/RIPE NCC today would not advance
> that objective and give them to opportunity to become better informed of 
> the
> technologies at the same time.
> As I have stated elsewhere and all RIRs do formally... these organizations
> are open to all stakeholders and each is welcomed for their contributions
> and involvement.

Thanks Bill. I agree wholeheartedly. I'm sorry if my mail didn't clarify 

The key point I tried to make is that although the RIRs are formally open to 
all stakeholders, they are not currently effective at representing all 
stakeholders because they do not sufficiently engage the non-ISP community, 
and particularly government.

My only dealings with government and parliament have been in South Africa, 
however, my experience in that country is that simply welcoming government 
participation in an industry body does nothing to achieve the goal of making 
them see eye-to-eye with you. The real successes we've had have been by 
direct engagement. ie. Formal requests for government to send 
representatives/speakers to Internet industry body events, written requests 
for support, etc.

It can be a slow and tedious process engaging government, however, one must 
never overlook the power they have to either undermine or entrench an 
industry/community approach to self-governance.

Proof that this approach works is in AfriNIC. Not only did the South African 
government decide to provide their full blessing for it, but they put their 
money behind it as well, providing office space and sponsorship.

This was not achieved by us just opening our arms to government but rather 
by key people involved in the formation of AfriNIC (particularly Theo) 
actively engaging them (writing to them, meeting with them, taking the time 
to persuade them that this was the sort of project that was in line with 
their goals).

So yes, I do believe that these governments should become members and/or 
actively participate in the RIRs policy meetings, however, I think it is 
extremely optimistic to expect them to do so without us actively encouraging 
them to and writing to them and persuading them that this would be a good 
way to achieve their goals.

I also think that it is extemely naive to think that the ITU won't actively 
try and persuade them that their approach is better and that they're more 
involving of government. It is up to the RIRs to engage governments to 
ensure that the ITU's voice is not seen as being the only one in this 

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