From: Hans Klein
Subject: [ALSC-Forum] Policy-making vs. Implementation
Date: Mon, 21 May 2001 18:09:45 -0700
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When considering the mandate of the ALM study committee, I find it useful
to think in terms of the division between policy-making and implementation.
Policy-making is made by bodies that must be legitimate. The decision to
have SO's and ALM directors in ICANN was a policy decision, and it resulted
from due process involving the extended Internet community. Despite some
stakeholders' abandonment of the process, the final result incorporated the
views of multiple parties.
One can certainly question the policy. But to change it would require
another decision process with comparable foundations in legitimacy.
Implementation, on the other hand, involves putting policy decisions into
practice. Here there is undoubtedly work to be done. For example, the
constituency structure of the DNSO could be improved, and the ALM elections
might be done better (e.g. better voter registration technology.)
If the ALM Study Committee tries to improve the *implementation* of the At
Large Membership, then we can all welcome their efforts. We would all like
that policy to be realized effectively.
But ... if the ALM Study Committee proposes the equivalent of a
constitutional amendment (e.g. "ICANN's representational structure should
be modified,") then it plunges into policy-making.
More importantly -- and some might overlook this point -- even the partial
ICANN board that authorized the ALM study lacks the legitimacy to redesign
the representation mechanisms. The current stakeholders cannot
legitimately rewrite the rules of deliberation to exclude other,
late-arriving stakeholders. They may have the *power* to get away with
such a deed, but they do not have a legitimate basis for it. The full
board has not been implemented.
I am confident that the committee members are cognizant of this basic
distinction between policy and implementation. I hope they keep it in mind
as they do their valuable work!
P.S. Do the committee members participate in this forum? Some engagement
with the public would be a helpful confidence-building measure. :-)