The Importance of Open Policy Forums: Fostering Communities at the Local Level

APNIC Senior Advisor (Services)

There are OPMs in each of the five regional Internet communities around the world. If you have attended an APNIC conference, you may have heard of APNIC Open Policy meetings.Open policy meetings (OPMs) are special forums where the Internet numbers community discusses policy changes for Internet number resources such as IPv4, IPv6, and AS numbers. These forums are gatherings that inspire participation, assess needs, and propose improvements to policies to better manage these essential addressing elements of the Internet.

Similar to other OPMs, APNIC OPMs are community-led. The APNIC community elects Chairs for the Policy Special Interest Group (SIG), where the APNIC community proposes, debates, and agrees on policy proposals.

APNIC OPMs follow a process to develop policies known as Policy Development Process (PDP). Some of the fundamental principles about policy development are openness, transparency, and a bottom-up approach with consensus-driven decision making.

The discussion of policies is open to anyone interested; the documents are available and accessible to all. Most importantly, people in the community are the ones who propose changes or new policies.

The health of policy development needs to have as many voices as possible from different parts of the region. Some of the voices are from the regular local forums across the Asia Pacific region, such as JPOPM, IRINN OPM, VNNIC OPM, IDNIC OPM, and TWNIC IP OPM etc.

These forums are where local issues are identified and potentially aggregated into the Policy SIG, where the regional policies are agreed upon.

One example of a vibrant OPM is the recent 35th TWNIC IP OPM, held together with the 2nd ICANN APAC-TWNIC Engagement Forum.

It was great to see a local event like this organized as a hybrid model, with face-to-face local participation and remote international participation.

The continuity of community inputs and voices is essential during the pandemic to ensure policy development is not interrupted.

Sessions at the TWNIC OPM also included Cybersecurity SIG, Cooperation SIG, IPv6 deployment SIG, and Policy SIG. Several APNIC staff supported these sessions by either speaking or moderating. You can see more from the APNIC event wrap here.

There are many resources available on the APNIC website to help learn more about the Policy Development Process in the APNIC region. We encourage everyone to participate in the Policy SIG and join the upcoming Open Policy Meeting (OPM) at APNIC 52.

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