Policy Development Process
The Policy Development Process (PDP) is an essential part of the services provided by the Regional Internet Registry (RIR). It is through this process that the creation and modification of the policies that the RIR will implement within its region are validated.
This document describes the two options considered by the LACNIC policy development process (normal and expedited), the mechanisms that allow for its operation, and the appeal system.
Achieving consensus indicates that the proposal has been discussed by its author or authors, as well as other members of the community regardless of number, and after a period of discussion all critical technical objections have been resolved. Arriving at consensus does not mean that any proposal has been voted for or against; it is also not dependent on LACNIC having counted the number of yeses, noes and abstentions logged by participants to a particular policy.
In general, the achievement of consensus tends to coincide with a majority of community members expressing support for the proposal; those who are against the proposal are expected to base their objections on technical reasons as opposed to subjective concerns. Minimal participation in a related discussion or participants who disagree for reasons that are not adequately explained should not be considered a lack of consensus.
A proposal is not evaluated on the basis of the number of objections raised, but instead by the nature and quality of those objections. For example, a member of the community who objects to some technical aspect of a proposal may receive many expressions of support for their opinions; however, the PDP chairs may not take this support into consideration because they regard these objections as having been addressed previously or refuted during the discussion.
The definition of consensus used by the RIRs and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is actually that of rough consensus, which allows for better clarification of the intended goal. In this context, consensus may be interpreted as agreement by all or unanimity. More specifically, RFC7282, explains that “Rough consensus is achieved when all issues are addressed, but not necessarily accommodated.” Consequently, in this document achieving consensus should be interpreted as having arrived at a rough consensus.
A LACNIC policy proposal is considered to have reached consensus after broad discussion in which it is supported by meaningful opinions and there are no irrefutable technical objections.
The Policy Development Process may involve the following:
- Public Policy List
- PDP Chairs
- Working Groups
- Public Policy Forum (PPF)
- LACNIC Board of Directors
- Only those subscribed to the Policy mailing list may submit a proposal.
- Open mailing list.
- Formal starting point and end point for policy discussions.
- Policy proposals may be received at any time.
- Proposals must be submitted using the online form available at https://politicas.lacnic.net/politicas/. Once a policy proposal has been reviewed, it will be assigned an identification code and sent to the discussion list. The maximum time allowed for reviewing and publishing the proposal on the Public Policy List must not exceed two weeks. This review will only address the text itself, not the merit of the proposal.
- Working Groups may only be summoned through this list.
- Every call for the creation of a working group must be supported by at least five (5) members of the Public Policy List.
- The call for the nomination of candidates to serve as PDP Chairs must be summoned through this list, with the process staggered every two years.
- Only new proposals published on this list at least two weeks prior to the Public Policy Forum will be presented and discussed at the Forum.
- The Chairs will decide on the need to present each proposal at the Forum in the case of new versions of proposals already under discussion and which have already been presented at a prior Forum. This decision will consider the existence of significant modifications to the text and the discussions that have taken place on the list since the new version was presented.
LACNIC's PDP will have two chairs, both of whom will perform the same functions.
- To lead and prepare public policy forum discussions. Discussions shall be moderated by at least one of the two chairs; they may alternate in this function during the course of the discussion.
- To moderate the public policy list and the PDP in general.
- To evaluate and suggest minor changes to proposed texts before the corresponding call for consensus.
- To evaluate whether consensus has been achieved in policy discussions.
- To suggest the finalization of the discussions on a specific issue on the public policy list.
- To decide whether to withdraw a policy.
- To call for the creation of working groups on the public policy list.
- To receive comments from LACNIC's staff in relation to different aspects of a policy proposal. These comments may include, among others, comments on the wording of a proposal, the cost of
- implementing a proposal, legal implications, and where to include a proposal / policy change within the LACNIC Policy Manual.
- PDP chairs may not be LACNIC staff.
- These positions are honorary.
- PDP chairs must be members of LACNIC or supported by a member of LACNIC.
- PDP chairs will each serve a 2-year term, with one position put up for renewal each year. Unlimited re-election is allowed.
- Calls for nominations will be announced through the public policy list.
- Anyone subscribed to the public policy list may participate.
- The election will be conducted immediately before the Public Policy Forum.
- Voting will be conducted electronically, applying mechanisms to ensure that each subscriber to the list can vote only once.
- The winner of the electronic voting process must be ratified at the Public Policy Forum. The acting chairs will ask those in attendance whether they have any objections to the electronic voting process. If any objections are raised, the chairs will evaluate whether such objections are significant. If no objections are raised, or if the chairs consider that any objections are not significant, they will proceed to ratify the winning candidate. Any chair who ran in the election must abstain from participating as chair during the ratification process.
- Elected chairs will begin their term immediately after the closing of the Public Policy Forum during which they were ratified.
- If a winner is not ratified, the LACNIC Board will appoint a chair to fill the vacant position until the next Public Policy Forum. The person elected at this PPF will only fill the position for the remainder of the original term.
- To publish the agenda of the upcoming Public Policy Forum on the public policy list at least 1 week before the start of the forum. This agenda shall include the list of policy proposals that will be presented and discussed.
- To prepare a report on the Public Policy Forum and submit it to the policy list not more than one week after the end of the forum.
- To submit a call for the discussion of any proposal presented by the community on the public policy list. This shall include a reminder about the duration of the discussion period, which lasts for at least 8 weeks including the time required for its presentation at the Public Policy Forum. The chairs may not declare consensus for any proposal that has not been presented and debated at a minimum of one Public Policy Forum.
- At any time during the discussion period the chairs may decide: whether it is advisable to review a proposal, whether it is necessary to restart the discussion period, or whether the changes are minor and consensus is expected and therefore the same discussion period should continue.
- To announce whether consensus has been reached within no more than 2 weeks after the discussion period has ended.
- If consensus is not reached, to decide together with the author(s) whether they would like to continue to discuss the proposal (either the same version or a new version) or to withdraw the proposal. If they decide to continue discussing the proposal, the 8-week discussion period must be restarted.
- To publish a 4-week last call for comments on any proposal that has reached consensus.
- Within 1 week of the end of the last call for comments, to confirm whether consensus is maintained (in which case the proposal is sent to the LACNIC Board for ratification) or decide together with the author(s) if they wish to submit an updated version of the proposal to the public policy list and so restart the discussion period.
- To communicate through the policy list the results of the ratification by the LACNIC Board of those policies that have reached consensus and have received no objections during the last call for comments. This notification shall be made not more than one week after the publication of the minutes of the Board meeting during which the ratification was decided.
- Working groups are optional. The goal of working groups shall be to facilitate the discussion of a specific topic.
- Working groups may have an unlimited number of participants.
- These groups shall be created at the summons of the PDP Chairs, the LACNIC Board or the LACNIC Member Assembly.
- Working group results must be published on the public policy list four weeks before the Public Policy Forum. These results will be considered recommendations for the public policy list.
- The PPF is open to anyone who is interested in participating.
- This forum is intended to facilitate the analysis of discussions held on the public policy list.
- During the PPF there will be presentation and discussion of policies currently in the PDP.
- Opportunities will be offered to present additional topics that are of interest to the Public Policy Forum.
During its first meeting after the 4-week last call for comments, the LACNIC Board may:Ratify the proposal.
- Analyze a proposal’s implementation in communication with staff and make the corresponding announcement.
- Reject the proposal and, through the PDP Chairs, request that the public policy list continue their analysis and submit a new proposal.
- Decide on the removal of one or both PDP Chairs if they fail to carry out their responsibilities effectively, thereby impacting the policy development process. The board will be responsible for presenting an interim chair(s) within a maximum of two weeks; the interim chair(s) will serve until the next election.
In addition, the Board:
- May summon the creation of working groups on the public policy list.
- Will be responsible for the election process to appoint the PDP Chairs.
- Must decide whether to allow the appeal of a decision by the chairs within a period of no more than 4 weeks.
- To act as the secretariat for the Policy Development Process and provide support to the public policy list and the Public Policy Forum by maintaining the mailing list and its archives; to provide a space for the Public Policy Forum to meet during LACNIC events; to provide assistance to the forum chairs during the Public Policy Forum; to update its website with information on the policy development process, proposals that are under discussion and those previously submitted along with their current status; to maintain and update the policy manual and changelog; and to provide assistance for conducting the election of the chairs.
- To notify the implementation of proposals ratified by the board on the policy list as soon as this occurs.
In the case of disagreement during the PDP, any member of the community can bring the matter to the public policy list for initial consideration by the chairs.
Alternately, if any member considers that the chairs have violated the process or were mistaken in their judgement, they may appeal their decision through the board, which must decide the matter within a period of four weeks.
The purpose of the ‘last call’ is to provide the community with a brief, final opportunity to comment on the proposal, especially for those who did not do so previously. Consequently, during this period editorial comments may be submitted, as well as any new [technical] objections that were not considered during the discussion prior to determining the achievement of consensus. Any new objections must be substantiated and must not be based on opinion that lacks a technical justification.
In exceptional cases, a policy proposal may follow an expedited process in which it is not required to present the policy proposal before LACNIC's Public Policy Forum.
For a policy proposal to qualify for this expedited process it must be analyzed by both Public Policy Forum chairs and they must agree that this proposal should go through an expedited approval process.
The proposed policy will then be presented on the public policy list.
At least 60 days after being presented on the list, the Public Policy Forum chairs will evaluate whether the discussion that was generated merits a call for consensus or the abandonment of the expedited process.
If both chairs agree that the policy proposal warrants a call for consensus on the public policy list, the call will give participants at least 14 days to make comments.
Once the period to receive comments is closed, the Public Policy Forum chairs shall communicate whether consensus was attained. If it has done so, the chairs shall submit the proposal to LACNIC's Board of Directors. If it has not done so, the chairs may choose between abandoning the expedited process and continuing the discussion on the public policy list or withdrawing the proposal completely.
After attaining consensus on the public policy list, LACNIC's Board of Directors may:
- Accept the proposal. The board will then analyze its implementation jointly with the staff and make the corresponding announcement.
- Reject the consensus and, through the Public Policy Forum chairs, request that the public policy list continue their analysis and present a new proposal at the following Public Policy Forum.
- All policy proposals approved through an expedited process must be presented at the following Public Policy Forum in order to inform the community of its implementation.