RIPE: Existing Internet community policy channels and processes insufficient

RIPE's Enhanced Cooperation Task Force has released a report, calling for the establishment of a standing working group to discuss improving coordination and communication between the Internet community and public sectors on Internet policy matters.

The report surmises:

It is clear that the conventional channels and processes of the Internet community are not, of themselves, sufficient to meet the demands of enhanced cooperation. There is a range of reasons why interested parties outside the traditional RIPE community have not taken the opportunity to participate in forums such as the RIPE Meetings or mailing lists, but it is clear that if Internet policy is to have any authority, the policy development process must engage with these parties.

“Business as usual” in this case will not work. With the addition of targeted outreach activities and a flexible approach, however, the existing processes and institutions can still meet the needs of enhanced cooperation.

In response the Task Force recommends forming a Cooperation Working Group with the purpose of 1) improving outreach to governments, regulators and NGOs, 2) reporting on these efforts to the RIPE NCC, 3) developing and clarifying the RIPE community's position on issues that are of relevance to the public sector, and 4) maintaining a document produced by the Enhanced Cooperation Task Force, which describes the RIPE community and existing policy development process (PDP).

It's good to see RIPE formalizing a channel for communicating policy discussions with public interest ramifications. Hopefully this efort will help in accomplishing the much harder goal of effectively incorporating the public interest in RIPE's PDP.

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