[gnso-improvem-impl-sc] Waivers of GNSO operating procedures

Mike O'Connor mike at haven2.com
Tue Dec 3 12:54:01 UTC 2013

there's nothing like an upcoming meeting to focus the mind.  i too would like to apologize for this last-minute post.  Marie-Laure was all over this and i…  um…  wasn't.  sorry about that.

anyway, here's a summary of the email thread between Marie-Laure and me.  i agree with Marie, it would be helpful to sharpen up the problem-statement a bit before we dive into describing the solution.


The request:

Waivers and/or Exceptions to the GNSO Council Operating Procedures

Which group do you represent? GNSO Council

To which rules or processes do you refer? Submitting a motion and possibly other procedures

Please outline the problems: The Council does not have a mechanism to waive or invoke an exception to and of its operating procedures.  An example is whether the deadline for submitting motions could be waived in certain circumstances.  Quote from Jonathan Robinson in the transcript at the Wrap Up Meeting in Durban on 18 July 2013: "And essentially I wasn’t empowered as chair by our rulebook to allow that motion to be put on the table even if technically although we have done it by precedent and prior practice, even if no one objected from the council I didn’t really - there isn’t really device in the rulebook to allow that to take place. So I personally I think that’s an area we should look at is the - when and under what circumstances - formal council procedure can be bypassed in the event that there is no objection from the council?"

What specific changes do you propose to address the identified problems?  The SCI should consider whether and how the Council could vote outside of a meeting and under what circumstances.

Do you have any additional suggestion for making the rules/processes easier to administer? A waiver mechanism could allow the Council to consider a motion or document after the deadline of notice/submission to the Council has passed.

A suggestion from Thomas Rickert

Preferred path:
Ask for the waiver if all councillors are present or represented. If waivers are granted, record them.
That is the safest option.

Alternate route in case not all councillors are present or represented:
Ask whether councillors object - if someone objects - end of story
If noone objects, go on record advising absent councillors to object to the Council leadership should they wish to do so.

Marie-Laure's comments:

Thomas proposal seems reasonable. I would add the following:

-In both scenarios, it would be pertinent to specify whether the waiver has to be given orally or in a written form (email);
-Scenario 2 (all councillors are not present) specify a deadline (maybe one or two weeks) when councillors who were not present are requested to object. 
-Scenario 2, specify that silence is interpreted as non-objection in case one of the councillors argue that they wanted to object but missed the emails where they were requested to object. 

-Key question that remain to be answered to : 
should  this waiver be unlimited in time ? I think it shouldn´t to avoid abuses but it  should at the same provide enough flexibility for the chair to address a particular issue with the councilors thus how can we reach a balance?
should the waiver be specific as to what t is meant for ie. it should clearly specify what it is for in other word it should not become a permission to bypass any procedures under any circumstances. 

But I have been reading the background information that Julie sent (copied and pastel below) and I am wondering whether we are working on the right problem. It seems that from the text below, the problem highlighted by Jonathan was that he did not need us to establish rules for how waivers can be used but rather establishing guidelines as to when and how procedural rules can be bypassed when there is a waiver/exception.  Which is quite different. 

Question for the group:

Marie-Laure has the nub of it.  what is the problem that the SCI is being asked to address?  some discussion around this would be really helpful on today's call.



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