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AFRINIC Policy Development Process Bis V2

  • Ref. Name:
  • Submitted:
    9 November 2017
  • Versions: 2.0
  • Status:
    Under Discussion
  • Author:
    Komi Abel Elitcha
    Arnaud A. A. AMELINA
    Honest Ornella GANKPA
    Alain P. AINA
  • Obsoletes: CPM 3.0 - The Policy Development (PDP)
  • Staff Assessment

1.Summary of the Problem being addressed by this Policy Proposal

Policies for managing IP number resources in the AFRINIC service region are created through a Policy Development Process which describes the steps through which policy proposals are submitted, considered, debated and adopted.

  1. The current consolidated policy manual does not have provision for proposal adoption, which introduces duplication of proposals dealing with the same problem, lack of clarity of problem statements and proposals out of scope of the PDP. It also does not define a clear method for moving proposals forward.
  2. The consensus process for decision making is not defined, opening doors for varying interpretations and inactions.
  3. The current PDP does not have a provision for board adopting policies as per section 11.4 of the AFRINIC constitution in the varying of the process.


2. How this proposal addresses the problem

This Policy proposal addresses these issues by:

  1. Detailing the consensus process with regard to major and minor objections and responsibilities of the Chair of the working group in gauging the consensus.
  2. Providing different phases for policy proposals from adoption till last call and ratification by the AFRINIC board of Directors.
  3. Introducing provisions on how the board adopts policies as per section 11.4 of the constitution that is managed in varying the PDP.


3.0 Proposal

This proposal replaces section 3.0 of the CPM (The Policy Development Process) entirely as follows:

3. Policy Development Process

3.1. Scope

The Policy Development Process covers the development and modification of policies for a proper and responsible usage and management of Internet Number Resources within the AFRINIC service region and is shaped to come up with clear, technically effective and useful policies. Internet number resources consist of Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) address space, Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) address space, and Autonomous System (AS) numbers.

  1. Policies for Internet number resource management must be evaluated for technical effectiveness against three requirements: conservation, aggregation, and registration.
  2. Changes to the Policy Development Process itself will also follow the process.
  3. Internet number resource policies are distinctly separate from AFRINIC general business practices and procedures. General business practices and procedures are not within the purview of the Policy Development Process.


3.2. Policy Development Principles

All policies are developed by the Internet community following the four principles of openness, transparency, fairness and “bottom-up”. The Internet community initiates and discusses policy proposals. If consensus is reached on a given policy proposal, it is recommended to the AFRINIC Board of Directors to be ratified as an effective policy to be implemented within AFRINIC region.


3.2.1 Openness

All policies are developed in an open forum in which anyone may participate. There are no qualifications for participation.


3.2.2 Transparency

All aspects of the Policy Development Process are documented and publicly available via the AFRINIC website. The discussions are publicly archived. All procedures that are developed to implement the policy are documented by AFRINIC and are publicly available.


3.2.3 Fairness

Policies are to ensure fair distribution of Internet number resources and facilitate the operation of the Internet within AFRINIC Service Region.


3.2.4 Bottom-Up

The community drives policy development.


3.3. The Policy Development Working Group (PDWG)

The Policy Development Working group (PDWG) provides an open public forum to discuss Internet number resource management policies and related topics of interest to AFRINIC and the Internet community in the AFRINIC service region. PDWG sessions are held at AFRINIC Public policy meetings. Between meetings, discussions continue via the Resource Policy discussions mailing list. The PDWG is open to all interested individuals.

All Policy Development Working Group guidelines and procedures are defined in a separate document which is part of the PDP.


3.4 Consensus

Most of the decisions in the working group operations and discussions on policy proposals are made through rough consensus, unless specified otherwise. The PDWG consensus process is a multi-stakeholder approach to decision-making. The process is used to develop the best possible resource management policies for the AFRINIC service region. The consensus process begins when somebody proposes a new policy while the discussion phase begins on the mailing list and continues during the Public policy meetings.


3.4.1 Minor objections

A minor objection is one where the objector believes some problems may occur for some participants in the group if the proposal goes forward. PDWG participants should work together to see if the proposal can be modified to overcome minor objections.

However, it is not always possible to overcome such objections. In this case, the Chair may ask the objectors if they are prepared to acknowledge that the overall advantages of the proposal outweigh their objections and are willing to set them aside.


3.4.2 Major objections

Major objections are serious and indicate a belief that major problems will occur for parts of the community if the proposal goes forward; therefore, the proposal cannot be adopted in its current format. The Chair should devote sufficient time for the PDWG to discuss ways to overcome major objections. PDWG Participants, including the proponent, should work together to develop solutions that overcome major objections.

Consensus is reached on a proposal if the PDWG is able to successfully work through all objections in this way. It is not necessary for everyone to agree with the proposal. ‘Rough consensus’ is the point where all objections have been resolved or given due consideration and the PDWG believes the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.


3.4.3 Reaching consensus

In the meeting, the Chair may ask for a show-of-hands, or other techniques, to gauge support for a policy proposal. The use of show-of-hands or other techniques is not a vote. It is a way of broadly measuring opinion and the Chair’s final decision takes many additional factors into account, including earlier discussions on the mailing list.

The aim of the PDWG is to carefully consider all opinions before making a decision. At the end of the discussion, the Chair will decide if the working group has reached consensus. Consensus is achieved when everyone consents to the decision of the group. The decision may not be everyone’s first preference, but is acceptable to all participants.


3.5. Policy proposals

Anyone can submit a policy proposal to the PDWG Chair. One or all initiators of a policy proposal have the option to remain anonymous. Hence, the PDWG Chair has the responsibility to act as the document editor or set a call for a volunteer from the WG to act as a document editor on the policy proposal.  A Document Editor is responsible for ensuring that the contents of the document accurately reflect the decisions that have been made by the working group.


3.5.1 Phases of a policy proposal

A policy proposal follows four phases during its evolution through the policy development process: Adoption, Discussion, Review and Concluding. The Adoption Phase

During this phase, the PDWG Chair will assess the clarity and relevance of the problem statement in accordance to the scope of the PDP and the existing policies. PDWG Chairs or AFRINIC staff can work with the initiator(s) to redefine the problem statement if need be. 

For policy proposals which are out of scope of the AFRINIC PDP or addressing the same issue as another policy proposal already adopted, the PDWG Chair shall dissuade the initiator(s) from submitting to the working group. In case of disagreement or doubts, the PDWG Chair may consult the working group on whether or not the working group is willing to adopt the proposal for discussion based on its problem statement.

Once adopted by the working group, the initiator(s) grants all rights to the working group and the proposal becomes a community document. In all matters of intellectual property rights and procedures, the intention is to benefit the community and the public at large, while respecting the legitimate rights of others.

Any call for adoption should last a maximum of two weeks. At the term of two weeks, based on consensus, the PDWG Chair declares the beginning of the Discussion phase or declares the rejection of the policy proposal. At this point, the initiator(s) of the policy proposal can reformulate their problem statement and go back to the adoption phase. The Discussion Phase

Once the PDWG Chair declares the adoption of a policy proposal for discussion, the Discussion Phase begins on the RPD Mailing List ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ). The PDWG Chair should set the period for the Discussion Phase and this must be for at least four weeks. During the discussion phase, the working group evaluates the policy proposal and comments are made. Politeness and courtesy must lead discussions and the PDWG Chair should emphasize this whenever relevant and appropriate.

  1. At the end of the Discussion Phase, the PDWG Chair provides a summary of the discussion highlighting closed and open issues.
  2. Once the working group agrees on the summary, which can be edited according to feedback, the PDWG Chair decides whether the policy proposal should move to the next phase (Review Phase), go to an extended discussion phase or be withdrawn. The decision to move forward will be announced on RPD mailing list.
  3. If significant comments or modifications are suggested during the Discussion Phase, the policy proposal initiators will review the proposal and a new version will be published. A new Discussion Phase will then start for the new version of the proposal. This new Discussion Phase should last at least two weeks.
  4. If the suggested comments or modifications are not significant enough to require a new Discussion Phase, the PDWG Chair can decide to move the proposal to the next phase (Review Phase) with a new version of the proposal incorporating the necessary changes.
  5. Each version of the proposal is publicly archived to transparently show the history of changes to the proposal and is published on AFRINIC web site.
  6. The new version of the policy proposal should be announced on the AFRINIC RPD mailing list and website before the proposal can be moved to the Review Phase.
  7. The PDWG Chair shall request the AFRINIC CEO to conduct and publish an impact analysis about the proposal before it can be moved to the Review Phase. The goal of this analysis is to provide relevant supporting information to facilitate the discussions about the proposal and provide some projections about the possible impact if it were to be accepted. This analysis will contain the following points:
    • AFRINIC understanding of the proposed policy
    • Impact on the registry and Internet Number Resources
    • Impact on AFRINIC operations/services
    • Legal impact The Review Phase

The goal of this phase is to review the full draft policy proposal compiled at the end of the Discussion Phase. Hence, the final documentation of the proposal will lead to rough consensus; all modifications made to that document should be transparent to the working group. During the Review Phase, discussion of the draft proposal can continue, also in the light of the impact analysis, and within the context of the proposal, further modifications can still be suggested regarding the draft proposal. The Review Phase should last for a maximum of four weeks.

  1. At the end of the Review Phase, the policy proposal is presented at the next Public Policy meeting.
  2. The PDWG Chair determines whether the working group has reached rough consensus. In the case the PDWG Chair decides that consensus has not been reached, then the PDWG Chair can send the draft proposal back to the Discussion Phase if the initiators are willing to make an improvement of their proposal and make the necessary changes according to the feedback received from the community.
  3. A draft proposal sent back to discussion phase automatically loses its status as a draft proposal.
  4. The PDWG Chair can also decide to have the draft proposal edited and start a new Review Phase with a new version of the proposal or otherwise the proposal shall be withdrawn. The Concluding Phase

In the case, the Chair determines that the WG has reached consensus at the end of the Review Phase, the PDWG Chair moves the draft proposal to "Last Call for Comments" period, which starts the Concluding Phase. The Last Call period lasts at least two weeks. The Last Call shall be announced on the policy discussions mailing list.

The purpose of this Last Call period is to provide the community with a final opportunity to comment on the draft proposal. This is especially intended for those who missed the previous two phases and want to oppose the proposal or make substantial remarks. The "Last Call for Comments" period gives time to the community after the PDWG Chair declares rough consensus at the end of the Review Phase so that suggestions for any final changes or objections to the proposal can be sent to the WG mailing list. At this stage, objections need to be justified just as in the other phases for them to be taken into account.

  1. At the end of the Last Call period, the PDWG Chair will assess the feedback received during this period and decide whether consensus has beenIf there is no feedback from the community at this stage, this is regarded as consensus.
  2. If rough consensus is achieved, the PDWG Chair will announce the decision and initiate the process of the draft proposal ratification by AFRINIC board of directors.
  3. If consensus has not been achieved, the PDWG Chair can decide to either send back the proposal to the previous phases of Discussion or Review, otherwise the proposal shall be withdrawn.
  4. The initiators of a policy proposal (or anyone else) are free to return the proposal to the RPD mailing list for further discussion after a withdrawal.


3.6.Policy Ratification

After a draft proposal has reached rough consensus, the AFRINIC board of Directors have the obligation to check if process has been followed very well.  In case of a rejection, the AFRINIC board of directors must justify and publish the reason on the resources policy discussion list ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) and on the AFRINIC website, and ask the working group to rectify the issue.

After ratification, AFRINIC board of Directors, will announce their decision to the working group and this activates implementation of the policy by AFRINIC staff.


3.7.Varying the Process


3.7.1 Variance by the PDWG

The process outlined in this document may vary in the case of an emergency. Variance is for use when a one-time waiving of some provision of this document is required. The decision to vary the process is taken by the Working Group Chair. There must be an explanation about why the variance is needed. The discussion, review and concluding period shall not be less than four weeks. If there is consensus, the policy is approved and it must be presented at the next Public Policy Meeting.


3.7.2 Variance by the AFRINIC Board of Directors

As per section 11.4 of the AFRINIC constitution, the AFRINIC Board of Directors may adopt policies regarding the management of Internet number resources where it considers that the same is necessary and urgent, having regard to the proper and responsible usage of these resources. The working group at the following public policy meeting will endorse any such adopted policy as per section 11.5 of the bylaws.



The implementation date of the policy is announced on the Resource Policy Discussion mailing list. The implementation date should be less than six months after the end of the Last Call unless a waiver is requested.



  1. During the Discussion Phase:

During the Discussion Phase, anyone who has a complaint or other concern about the policy proposal or how it is being handled on the policy development mailing list should first raise the matter with the PDWG Chair. If the dispute cannot be resolved with the PDWG Chair, the appeals Procedure can be invoked.

  1. During the Review & Concluding Phases

At these stages of the process – i.e. after the PDWG Chair has declared initial consensus or the proposal is in Last Call – complaints should not be about the policy proposal itself unless there are exceptional extenuating circumstances.


Anyone who believes that the proposal has not been handled correctly or that the PDWG Chair has made an incorrect determination of consensus should first raise the matter with the PDWG Chair. If the dispute cannot be resolved with the WG Chair, the Appeals Procedure can be invoked.


3.9.1 Appeals procedure

An appeal can only be filed if supported by three (3) individuals from the Working Group who participated in the discussions to the appeal committee. The appeal must be submitted within two weeks of the chairs’ actions or decisions announced on the Resources Policy Discussions list ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) or during a Public policy meeting. The Appeal Committee shall issue a report on its review of the complaint to the Working Group in maximum 4 weeks after the appeal is recorded.

The Appeal Committee may direct that the Chair decision be annulled if the Policy Development Process has not been followed. The appeal committee decision is final.


3.9.2. Appeal committee

  1. The appeal committee shall be comprised as follows:
    - One (1) board member selected by the AFRINIC board of Directors for 1 year renewable
    - One (1) Council of Elders (CoE) member selected by the COE for 1 year renewable
    - The immediate Policy Development Working Group past co-chair for 1 year renewable
  2. If the immediate past co-chair is unable to serve, the next past co-chair will be selected until the past co-chairs pool is exhausted. If none of them is able to serve, the PDWG shall run an election and select a community member.
  3. The appeal Committee shall be chaired by the CoE nominee and make decisions byIf unable to reach consensus, decisions shall be made by majority of the members.
  4. If any member of the appeal committee resigns or is unable to serve, the member shall be replaced immediately following the same appointment procedure.


4.0 Acknowledgements

This proposal is mainly based on the intensive discussions we had on the current PDP during 2016 and 2017 on RPD mailing list. It addresses the issues by referring to best practices from the IETF and the PDP of other RIRs.


5.0 Revision History



28 Apr 2017

Version 1


09 Nov 2017

Version 2



- Addresses most of the staff and Legal concerns

  • Adds a section on implementation
  • Removes restrictions on the board varying the PDP
  • Clarifies deadlines to appeal against chair decisions

- Amends the appeals procedures

- Splits the proposal in two documents:

a. The PDP

b. Working Group guidelines and procedures.

- Changes the working group chairmanship to 2 chairs.

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