Superseded Version of the ARIN Policy Development Process
This version of the ARIN Internet Resource Policy Evaluation Process was published on 7 January 2009. It supersedes the previous version. For the current version, please see:
Part One – Principle
This document describes the ARIN Policy Development Process (PDP). The ARIN PDP is the process by which all policies governing the management of Internet number resources in the ARIN region are developed by and for the ARIN community. ARIN's Internet number resource policies are documented community decisions that directly determine the rules by which ARIN manages and administers Internet number resources.
Internet number resource policies are developed in an open and transparent manner by the Internet community. Anyone may participate in the process - ARIN membership is not required. The Policy Development Process (PDP) described in this document defines how policy is established in the ARIN region. Part I of this document provides background information regarding the ARIN PDP and Part II provides the details of the process.
- Policies developed through the PDP are community self-regulatory statements that mandate or constrain actions. They apply throughout the ARIN region. Policies contribute to the security and stability of the Internet as they foster good stewardship of Internet number resources by ensuring fair distribution of resources and facilitating the operation of the Internet by those who use them.
- Policies developed through the PDP do not describe a step-by-step process. Such a process is a called a procedure. Procedures are established by the policy implementer to execute the policy in such a manner to comply with the policy.
- Polices developed through the PDP do not define a service to be offered by ARIN.
- Policies developed through the PDP do not define or establish ARIN fees. All matters concerning fees are a fiduciary responsibility of the Board of Trustees.
- The ARIN Board of Trustees adopts draft policies recommended to it by the ARIN Advisory Council if the Board determines that the PDP has been followed, that support and consensus for a policy has been reached among the community, and if the draft policies are consistent with ARIN's Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws and with the applicable laws and regulations.
- Internet number resource policies are distinctly separate from ARIN general business practices and procedures. ARIN's general business practices (including fees) and procedures are not within the purview of the Policy Development Process. (The ARIN Consultation and Suggestion Process can be used to propose changes in non-policy areas.)
- This version of the ARIN PDP is designed to bring forth clear, technically sound and useful policy; reduce overlapping policy proposals; require both staff and legal assessments; give adequate opportunity for discussion prior to each public policy meeting; and provide a means of review prior to possible adoption. The PDP empowers the ARIN Advisory Council as a policy development body with checks and balances, and maintains an open and transparent process.
3. Policy Development Principles
All policies are developed following three principles: open, transparent, and bottom-up.
All policies are developed in an open forum in which anyone may participate. There are no qualifications for participation. Policy discussions in the ARIN region are conducted in an open, publicly accessible forum that consists of a Public Policy Mail List (PPML) and the Public Policy Meeting (PPM). Anyone may subscribe to the PPML and anyone may attend a PPM via the Internet or in person.
All aspects of the PDP are documented and publicly available via the ARIN website. The PPML is archived. The proceedings of each PPM are published. All policies are documented in the Number Resource Policy Manual (NRPM). All policy statements in the NRPM are cross referenced to the original policy proposal, the archives of the PPML, all related PPM proceedings, and the minutes of the appropriate Advisory Council and the ARIN Board of Trustees meetings. Finally any procedures that are developed to implement the policy are documented, publicly available, and not deviated from by the ARIN staff.
3.3. Bottom Up
All policies in the ARIN region are developed by the ARIN community from the bottom up. The community initiates proposals; the ARIN Advisory Council develops the proposals into draft policies which are then discussed by the community. When the Advisory Council determines that the community has reached consensus on a proposal it recommends it to the Board of Trustees who after receipt adopts the draft policy as a policy. The Board of Trustees may not disapprove a policy, but if it has concerns about a draft policy, it may refer it back to the Advisory Council for further work.
4. Policy Development Process Philosophy
Internet number resource management requires good stewardship and judicious management. Thus policies must be developed that ensure fair distribution, meet technical requirements, and enable administration. All policy statements must be clear, complete, and concise. The criteria that are defined must be simple and obtainable.
4.1. Fair Distribution
Although the available amount of Internet number resources appears to be infinitely large, their defined characteristics create a finite resource to which principles of conservation must be applied. These defined characteristics include the recognition of network topology realities. To prevent capricious consumption such as stockpiling, Internet number resource policies provide for the distribution according to demonstrated operational needs.
4.2. Technical Requirements
Policies must meet the technical requirements for the way that they are used in the operational environment. Polices must allow for aggregation of Internet number resources in a hierarchical manner to permit the routing scalability which is necessary for proper Internet routing. However, polices cannot guarantee routability of any particular Internet number resource as that is dependent on the actions of the individual Internet operators. Polices must not create a situation in which Internet number resources intended for public operation are not globally unique.
Policies must enable administration and management of Internet number resources that is neutral, impartial, and consistent. Policies must be unambiguous and not subject to varying degrees of interpretation.
- An idea for a policy that is submitted to the Advisory Council using the policy proposal template.
- Draft Policy
- A policy proposal that has been developed by the Advisory Council from individual submitted proposals or merged proposals, reviewed by ARIN staff and legal counsel, and posted for discussion on the PPML.
- A draft policy that has the support of the community and the Advisory Council, and has been adopted by the Board of Trustees.
6. The PDP Cycle
The policy development process is composed of a five (5) phase cycle – need, discussion, consensus, implementation, and evaluation.
The PDP cycle begins with the identification of a need for either a new policy or the revision or elimination of an existing policy. This need is usually determined by a change in technology, a change in the operational environment of the Internet, or the result of the experience of the implementation of an existing policy.
Draft policies are discussed by the community both on the public policy mailing list and in the public policy meeting.
The Advisory Council determines the consensus of the community regarding the draft policy. It evaluates the type and amount of support and opposition to a policy as expressed by the community on the ppml and in the public policy meeting.
The policy is implemented by ARIN staff using published procedures.
The implementation experience of the policy is periodically reviewed by the staff who reports the results to the Advisory Council and the community.
Part Two – The Policy Development Process
This section provides the details of the ARIN Policy Development Process. A graphical flow depiction of the process is provided at Appendix A. All days are calendar days unless otherwise specified.
1. The Policy Proposal
Policy proposals may be submitted by anyone in the global Internet community except for members of the ARIN Board of Trustees or the ARIN staff. Proposals may be submitted any time to the ARIN staff for delivery to the Advisory Council using the template at Appendix B. There is no deadline for the submittal of policy proposals. Besides delivering the policy proposal to the Advisory Council, the staff will post the policy proposal to the public policy mailing list so that the community will be provided the ability to comment on the proposal. Policy proposals posted to the PPML by individuals will not be considered by the Advisory Council until the proposal is submitted to the staff and delivered to them. Only policy proposals that are developed into draft policies by the Advisory Council, or successfully petitioned, will be discussed for adoption on the PPML and at the public policy meeting.
2. Draft Policy
Upon receipt of a policy proposal, the Advisory Council assumes control of the proposal. The Advisory Council evaluates policy proposals and develops them into technically sound and useful draft policies that, if adopted, will make a positive contribution to the Number Resource Policy Manual. The development of draft policy consists of several steps.
2.1. Clarity & Understanding
Upon receipt of a policy proposal the ARIN staff will work with the proposal originator to ensure there is clarity and understanding of the proposal text. Staff does not evaluate the proposal itself at this time, their only aim is to make sure that they understand the proposal and believe that the community will as well. Staff reports the results of this step to the Advisory Council within 10 days.
2.2. Development & Evaluation
The Advisory Council develops a draft policy. During this effort they may take any action such as rewrite, abandon, merge various proposals, or use a proposal as an idea to generate a draft policy. The Advisory Council must make a decision regarding any policy proposal at their next regularly scheduled meeting that occurs after the Advisory Council receives the Clarity and Understanding Report from staff. If the period before the next regularly scheduled meeting is less than 10 days, then the period may be extended to the subsequent regularly scheduled meeting, but the period shall not be extended beyond 45 days. The Advisory Council will announce its decision regarding any policy proposal once they have decided how to utilize the proposal.
Once the Advisory Council crafts a draft policy it submits it for staff and legal review. This review will be completed within 10 business days. Upon receipt of the staff and legal comments, the Advisory Council examines staff and legal comments to ensure its understanding and resolve any issues that may have been raised. These comments may cause the Advisory Council to revise its draft policy.
2.3. Discussion & Review
Once the Advisory Council completes its work on a draft policy, to include the staff and legal reviews, it publishes the draft policy and accompanying staff and legal reviews on the PPML for review and discussion. In order for a draft policy to be considered for adoption discussion at a public policy meeting it must be published on the PPML at least 35 days prior to the public policy meeting.
Any member of the community, including a proposal originator, may initiate a Discussion Petition if they are dissatisfied with the action taken by the Advisory Council regarding any specific policy proposal. If successful, this petition will change the policy proposal to a draft policy which will be published for discussion and review by the community on the PPML and at an upcoming public policy meeting.
The Discussion Petition must be initiated within 5 business days of announcement of the Advisory Council's decision regarding a specific policy proposal; the petition must include the proposal and a petition statement. The petition duration is 5 business days. The ARIN President determines if the petition succeeds (success is support from at least 10 different people from 10 different organizations). In order to be considered at an upcoming public policy meeting, the petition must be successfully completed at least 35 days prior to that meeting.
A successful petition may result in competing versions of the same draft policy. Staff and legal reviews will be conducted and published for successful petitions.
All draft policies that are selected by the Advisory Council or successfully petitioned are published for review and discussion on the public policy mailing list.
3. Public Policy Meeting
Those draft policies that are published at least 35 days prior to a public policy meeting will be placed on the agenda of that meeting for adoption discussion. In the period leading up to the public policy meeting changes may be made to the text of the draft policy. At 10 days prior to the public policy meeting no further changes will be made to the draft policy text so that a single text for each draft policy is considered at the meeting. The text remains frozen until after the completion of the public policy meeting.
The draft policies that have been selected by the Advisory Council are presented by the Advisory Council at the public policy meeting. Draft policies resulting from successful petitions are presented by the petitioner. Competing draft policies, if any, will be discussed together. Discussion and votes at the meeting are for the consideration of the Advisory Council.
4.1 Discussion Evaluation
At the conclusion of the public policy meeting, the Advisory Council controls all draft policies, including those that were successfully petitioned. The Advisory Council reviews all draft policies and, taking into account discussion on the PPML and at the public policy meeting, decides what to do with each one within 30 days following the public policy meeting. The Advisory Council may take any action such as rewrite, merge, abandon, or send to last call the draft policies. The results of the Advisory Council's decisions are announced to the PPML. Draft policies that are not abandoned or sent to last call are placed on the AC docket for further development and evaluation.
Any member of the community, including a proposal originator, may initiate a Last Call Petition if they are dissatisfied with the action taken by the Advisory Council regarding any draft policy. If successful, this petition will move the draft policy to last call discussion and review by the community on the PPML.
The Last Call Petition must be initiated within 5 business days of the announcement of the Advisory Council's decision regarding a specific draft policy; the petition must include the draft policy and a petition statement. The petition duration is 5 business days. The ARIN President determines if the petition succeeds (success is support from at least 10 different people from 10 different organizations).
4.3 Last Call
The Advisory Council selects draft policies that have the support of the community and the Advisory Council and sends these draft policies to a last call for review and discussion by the community on the PPML. The last call period will be for a minimum of 10 days. The Advisory Council may decide that certain draft policies require a longer last call period of review, such as those that were revised based on comments received while the text was frozen. If the Advisory Council sends a draft policy to last call that is different from the frozen version, then the Advisory Council will provide an explanation for all changes to the text.
4.4. Last Call Review
Within 30 days of the end of last call the Advisory Council determines consensus for each draft policy by reviewing last call comments, revisiting its decision (the Advisory Council may take any action such as rewrite, merge, or abandon), and determining readiness for consideration by the Board of Trustees. If the Advisory Council modifies a draft policy, it will be sent to another last call or may be placed back on the docket of the Advisory Council for further development and evaluation.
The results of the Advisory Council's decisions are announced to the PPML. The Advisory Council forwards the draft policies that it supports to the Board of Trustees for consideration.
Any member of the community may initiate a Board of Trustees Consideration Petition if they are dissatisfied with the action taken by the Advisory Council regarding any last call review. If successful, this petition will move the draft policy for consideration by the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees Consideration Petition must be initiated within 5 business days of the announcement of the Advisory Council's decision regarding a specific last call review of a draft policy; the petition must include the draft policy and a petition statement. The petition duration is 5 business days. The ARIN President determines if the petition succeeds (success is support from at least 10 different people from 10 different organizations).
5. Board of Trustees Review
The ARIN Board of Trustees reviews and evaluates each draft policy within 30 days of receipt. The Board examines each draft policy in terms of fiduciary risk, liability risk, conformity to law, development in accordance with the ARIN PDP, and adherence to the ARIN Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws. The Board may adopt, reject or remand draft policies to the Advisory Council. Rejections will include an explanation. Remands will include an explanation and a recommendation. The Board may also seek clarification from the Advisory Council without remanding the draft policy. The results of the Board's decision are announced to the community via PPML.
The projected implementation date of the policy is announced at the time that adoption of the policy is announced. ARIN staff updates the NRPM to include the adopted policy and implements and publishes a new version of the manual.
7. Special Policy Actions
7.1. Emergency PDP
The Board of Trustees may initiate the Emergency PDP by declaring an emergency and posting a draft policy to the PPML for discussion for a minimum of 10 business days. The Advisory Council will review the draft policy within 5 business days of the end of the discussion period and make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees. If the Board of Trustees adopts the policy, it will be presented at the next public policy meeting for reconsideration.
7.2. Policy Suspension
If, after a policy has been adopted, the Board receives credible information that a policy is flawed in such a way that it may cause significant problems if it continues to be followed, the Board of Trustees may suspend the policy and request a recommendation from the Advisory Council on how to proceed. The recommendation of the Advisory Council will be published for discussion on the PPML for a period of at least 10 business days. The Board of Trustees will review the Advisory Council's recommendation and the PPML discussion. If suspended, the policy will be presented at the next scheduled public policy meeting in accordance with the procedures outlined in this document.