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Stenography Transcript


28 October 2020

6 p.m. (CET)

REMCO VAN MOOK:  It is now 6:01, it is October 28th, 2020, and you are in this Meetecho room which means you are attending the General Meeting of the RIPE NCC.

Before we get started with the festivities, I have to start with sending apologies on behalf of Christian, who couldn't be here tonight as he is ill, so, I hope you get well soon, Christian, and as ‑‑ because of a nice artifact in the Articles of Association, Article 19.1, which reads.

"The General Meeting shall be presided over by the Chair of the Executive Board.  In the event that the Chair of the Executive Board is absent, the longest‑serving member of the Executive Board who is present at the meeting shall act as Chair."


Magically, has appointed me as the Chair of this meeting.  I wish you all good luck with that. 

Let's get it started.  So, some administrative matters.  There is the appointment of the secretary for the General Meeting, which is Athina.  Congratulations, Athina; good luck writing. 

Then, objections to the minutes, we will be publishing the draft on November 3rd.  If you then have objections to those minutes, you have three weeks to submit those, we'll collect them, and, unless we receive a notice of objection signed by at least 100 members within three weeks, the draft minutes of the meeting will be final an binding and that is all reflected in Article 19.4 of the Articles of Association. 

So, let's see, where are we?

We have on the agenda, I think that sorts out the welcome and preliminaries.  The report from the RIPE NCC you have all had during RIPE NCC Services, so, now I'd like to proceed to the report from the RIPE Executive Board, and, given Christian's absence, that shall be delivered by Piotr in his role as the secretary of the board. 

PIOTR STRZYZEWSKI:  Thank you, I hope you can hear me clear. 

This is the report from the RIPE NCC Executive Board.  Once again, sorry for not being there (inaudible) replacing Christian. 

First of all, let me introduce our board members.  From the left to the right, the first is Christian Kaufmann, our Chairman, who is missing, which is sorry.  The next one is me, Piotr Strzyzewski, the secretary of the board.  The next one is Remco van Mook. In next row you can see Ondrej Filip, our Treasurer.  Next one is Maria Hall, and Falk von Bornstaedt, and, last but not least, we have Raymond Jetten in the last row. 

The board has four times since last GM and the minutes of the board meetings are published  on the RIPE NCC web page under the link which is put on the slide.

Just to give you a quick update of what was discussed at board meetings.  The first one to the Board Executive Board meeting, 1:35, we do the usual thing, which is happening after elections, which is a distribution of the function within the RIPE NCC Executive Board.

As a result, Ondrej Filip was assigned function of Treasurer, and at this point I would like to thank Remco van Mook for his exceptional and long service as the previous Treasurer.  This is a usual thing in which the champagne is going to be put on the stage, but I think we should just feature a clap ‑‑

REMCO VAN MOOK:  I'll take a bigger bottle of champagne at the next meeting, that's fine.  Thank you. 

PIOTR STRZYZEWSKI:  Moving forward, the next one, the Executive Board meeting of 1:30, we reviewed it firstly remote by the General Meeting which was the previous one, and the one which was next to RIPE 80.  Then we agreed both for the Executive Board election task force would be able to operate as a result of the discussion among the members.  We also resolved that the RIPE NCC will provide funds for physical participation of Working Group Chairs at RIPE meetings.

This point is not ‑‑ it's not we are wise ‑‑ all of us are sitting at the homes and due to the Covid‑19.

Moreover, Falk was appointed to the Board, for... (inaudible)

We also reviewed the treasury ‑ institute according to the review cycle and resolved that it would remain unchanged.

The last thing, we approved a document which is called Virtual Meeting Registration Terms and Conditions, and also make amendments to the document which is called RIPE NCC Privacy Statement. 

The next one, Executive Board meeting 1/47, we made ‑  first, we confirmed the selection of RIPE Chair and RIPE Vice‑Chair, and that the process was flawless for finding the RIPE 77 and RIPE 78, and at this point I would like to thank both Daniel Karrenberg, Chair of the NomCom and then the entire NomCom for the excellent work for the community.

Once again, there will be some champagne or another drink, but let me just virtually clap, and I invite you to clap to the RIPE ‑‑ to Daniel Karrenberg and the whole NomCom. 

We also suggested a review of the current document of what is for the RIPE Chair and Vice‑Chair selection, and also the last thing we appointed ‑ as a new of the selection committee for the RIPE NCC Committee Projects Fund. 

So, probably that's the last of the... The RIPE NCC Executive Board meeting 1 of 38.  This is one is quite long, so, we'll try to go through it quickly.

First, we approve the amendments to the document due diligence for the committee of RIPE NCC registration data.  We also approved publication of draft agenda for the RIPE NCC General Meeting of October 2020 and draft RIPE NCC document project 2021.

We decided to increase the number of the Executive Board members that, acting jointly, had the authority to represent  the Association, from two to four.  The resolution about that and the proposed amendment to AOA will be voted at this meeting. 

We also received an update from the new Chairperson, Mirjam Kuhne.  Moreover, we adopted RIPE NCC Executive Board election task force recommendation and that was divided in three parts.  First, we instructed (somebody) to implement recommendations not subject to the RIPE NCC Articles of Association.  We also proposed amendments to the RIPE NCC Articles of Association, resolution on proposal mandate will be voted on at this GM.

We also instructed the RIPE to publish the Executive Board selection task force report for the (inaudible) and for those of you who participated in the NCC Services Working Group already seen the record and I would like to take the opportunity to thank both Sergey and the entire task force for their great job with that task.  Thank you, once again, and, of course, a virtual clap.

Next, of course, the ongoing work, which is mostly business as usual.  We have full operated government and fiduciary responsibilities.  We are also finalising the activity plan and budget 2021 and engaging with the  community and members.

Moreover, we are working with Hans Petter to maintain good board/management relationship.  Of course we are cooperating with the other RIRs, which is, frankly speaking, in these Covid times, we all know that.

The feedback from members regarding RIPE NCC (inaudible) throughout the whole year in RIPE members to discuss and contribute to the development of key documents.  We also ask for input on specific RIPE NCC Services like, for example, brokering.

On the right‑hand you can see the timeline, and as you can see, in April the charging scheme has been published for discounts.  Next, in September, the draft activity plan and budget was published for the members to discuss.  In October, which is right now, will be discussed.  And next morning, the members will be incorporated into activity plan and budget.

Moreover, we also want to hear from the members whether the board is doing its job effectively and if we are meeting your needs.  We are here to talk to you at the GM and I understand it is more feasible at the physical meeting, but the SpatialChat, which is run by the NCC's ‑‑ base us to ask the questions.

Of course, you can come to us at association events and you can discuss things on Members Discuss mailing list.

Please do not forget that Members Discuss mailing list right now is  put on moderation.  Nevertheless, a moderator archives of the RIPE NCC web page.  Please, please do not forget to post from this subscribed e‑mail address as all e‑mails from all the other addresses are considered spam.  They are not even hitting the moderation queue.... is looking on the moderated archives, would have that impression, that some e‑mails were moderated, they were just sent from the 'not subscribed' address.

Of course you can e‑mail us directly at... [email protected].

With that, I would like to ask you if there are any questions to the Executive Board itself? 

ROB EVANS:  Thank you for that.  Rob Evans.  So, this is a question for the board relating to the, what you said about the minutes and the election board's task force.

You said that you accept the results of election board task force in full, so, how would you see the implementation of the recommendation that the candidate should not have violated the right Code of Conduct?  And I'm asking this, of course, in the context of the of the NCC Services about the conflict doing NAT and acting as a confidant? 

PIOTR STRZYZEWSKI:  Remco, will you take that as a member of the task force, or should I address that question? 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  I have too many mute buttons to make my life safe.  Piotr, go ahead and I'll try to chip in if I can. 

PIOTR STRZYZEWSKI:  First of all, Rob, thank you for your question.  I heard Sergey ask that at the NCC Services Working Group there was already some hard (something).  Nevertheless, I believe that the board is not there to question any task force outcomes.  Its the members' task force, not the board's task force to the task force which was requested by the members and which was consisted of the members.  I just make that recommendation and we are here to adhere to that.

I fully understand your concern about asking the trust contacts to be the sort of arbiters.  As I said, we are not here to question the results of what a task force was given to us. 

ROB EVANS:  I guess that's why I asked how do you plan on implementing it. 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  As best we can, I would suppose.  I understand your question and the Code of Conduct, it is ‑‑ it has been a subject of debate that I was part of in the task force.  And it was decided by the task force to, well, not to instigate any new bodies to guide the election process as a result of which some responsibilities were juggled around.  I would also say that this is ‑‑ this is a first step in evolving our election process.  If we need further fine tuning or adjustment at a later stage, the task force is still there, it hasn't been disbanded and I feel rather strongly that because the people sitting in front of you will not physically in front of you, but virtually in front of you, are actually the result of the election process, that should definitely be guided by the members and not by the board itself.

I am going to go to Brian ‑‑ if that doesn't fully answer your question, I'll happily come back. 

ROB EVANS:  Thanks.  Just one quick comment on that, which is purely that the way it stands at the moment, I am a gate keeper to who should be nominated to the exec board, and, whilst that's great for me, I'm not sure everyone else might see it that way. 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Okay, that is duly noted and I congratulate you on your new role.  Brian? 

BRIAN NISBET:  So, Brian Nisbet from HEAnet.  Obviously here as a member but also slightly with the member of the Code of Conduct task force hat on.  I just want to echo what Rob has said to a certain extent.  I think that I understand the board have to accept the recommendation, but I don't ‑‑ it seems like that's been made, and I think that ‑‑ I worry that it's unworkable.  As a member, I'm not a big fan of a single person having that piece, as has been written there, and I think that it also potentially ends up kind of maybe prejudging some of the result of the task force work, so I suppose it's flagging that I agree with Rob's concerns, and I think that this is what while it looks good on paper, it's problematic, it's also potentially problematic around the Executive Board should they be subject to the community Code of Conduct, there is a whole bunch of questions there that I don't think are answered here. 


HANS PETTER HOLEN:  Could I make a practical proposal to the Code of Conduct committee, just a little bit how to structure that and maybe give input to the Board and the task force from the membership, because I think you raised a very important point and if the Code of Conduct committee thinks about the vast challenge with the regional meetings organised by the RIPE NCC as well you may for instance think that you may need different sets of Code of Conduct committees for different purposes, but we could still adhere to the same Code of Conduct, just as an idea to toss into that. 

BRIAN NISBET:  So, yeah, I am sure Leo will love me for adding work to the task force.  I think it's something we're going to have to look at.  I don't know how it's going to work.  I am sounding caution and not just signing off on this recommendation, because I don't think it's practical at present and I think the task force can look at that, but there may not be a practical way of working this out with the exec board themselves adopting something or the NCC membership putting something in place specifically for the exec board.  But, I guess we'll have to see. 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Thank you for that. I think next up I recognise Peter Koch.  Peter. 

PETER KOCH:  Thanks, Remco.  I hope you can hear me.  So ‑‑ and everybody else of course.  So, I missed the NCC Services session, so apologies if the question is even more stupid than usual.  I'm wondering what precautions would be installed in ‑‑ should the community Code of Conduct be accepted for the GM or for the nomination process?  Just as a matter of of principle, I think it is inappropriate to give it a carte blanche given that there are changes in the queue to this Code of Conduct which might be more problematic than the current Code of Conduct already is.  And somebody else on the microphone actually already alluded to the history and the contested nature.  So, my concern is that we are a bit over‑regulating here, especially when it comes to the nomination process which was a one‑off and should be dealt with as such. 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Thank you for that, Peter.  I think what was relevant part in the considerations of the task force and as a member of the task force, I see Erik lining up and intervene if I'm wrong, but what the task force didn't want specifically was to, like, yet another Code of Conduct that essentially says the same thing.  So, while I completely agree with the concerns raised by Rob and by Brian, I'm also ‑‑ I am also very mindful of this.

If this doesn't work out or doesn't work as well as we would like it to, then it's always free for the membership,, through us initially, to go and change that.  I'd like to go to Erik, because he is on the task force. 

ERIK BAIS:  What Remco stated, it is, as a task force, we said we wanted to have specific notion that members that are running for the board will adhere to the Code of Conduct.  We decided at that point against it to have a specific Code of Conduct for, you know, possible new board members, and ‑‑ but we wanted to state that specifically in the report.

If that needs changing, we know that there is a Code of Conduct, there is another Code of Conduct that's still under development, you know, this is a developing road as we say and from the discussion that I remember from the task force, this is something we have full confidence that we get in the right way.  This is also what was discussed there. 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Thank you, Erik.  Next up, I'd like to go to Sascha, you have been in the queue for a while. 

SPEAKER:   Sascha Luck from the Internet Exchange and also actually for Alex Dejorda, who I hope I'm pronouncing that right, who forgot to register but has the same issue.

It's to do with the other recommendation, namely that the nominees will sign a statement stating that they haven't committed fraud or financial irregularities in any jurisdiction.  Piotr actually addressed on the mail list the outcome if that happens, but the question remains, who determines that fraud has been committed or an innocent irregularity, is it a conviction in a court or what is it? 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  As far as I know, what the ‑‑ this is what you would call a self‑certification, but I would gladly refer to Athina, the legal counsel, to give further guidance on this, if she is here.

Athina:   So, indeed the idea is not to judge whether someone has committed fraud but to allow someone to ‑‑ but to let them state that they haven't, and that it is broad because sometimes you may have like a process that is ongoing and there is not ‑‑ and there is not like a decision yet or the person that is under these charges is protesting them and this is like an ongoing process.

So indeed, for us, what matters is that the person states that they haven't committed fraud or any other criminal offence in this sense and, if someone challenges that, before the elections, the members have the opportunity to make the judgement and to vote based on what they believe, having all this information in front of them.

If, then, this person has been elected and is part of the Executive Board and such information becomes evident later, then it is really up to the Board to decide what to do.  It depends on the case every time.  If the board decides to have, like, a conviction in their hands or not, it really depends.  This is something for the future board, let's say, to decide.

What is important is that there is a process to deal with that.  So, if this happens and the board decides that actually we have reasons to want warn this member to not be in the Executive anymore, they may ask them to resign.  If this person does not resign, then they can propose the dismissal of this member and the General Meeting will have to vote on it. 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Thank you, Athina.  Sascha, does that help clarify the issue for you? 

SASCHA:   Only partially.  It still doesn't tell me what the legal standard for fraud or financial irregularity has been committed is, because it doesn't ‑‑ is it just a judgement of the board or is a criminal conviction necessary? 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  It is, as I said before, it is a self‑certification by the nominee, and that is the legal status of what they are stating.  They are stating what they are stating.  And if they want to lie in that statement, that's entirely up to them, but that might then constitute a violation of the Code of Conduct that applies.  So, we're not going to go trawl every court in the service region to see if someone has a conviction on record, that was never the intention.  The intention of the task force was to get a little bit more structure around the nomination and election process that we have currently.  And if that's ‑‑ if that's enough of an addition, that's great.  If it's not enough of an addition, that's not so great.  If it's the wrong addition, that's terrible, but let us know, we are trying to evolve this process. 

HANS PETTER HOLEN:  If I may weigh in here, trying to be practical as well, If I was running for the board and I was accused of fraud but not convicted, I would look at this as, oh, I actually should declare this to the community, since I think I am innocent I would sign this, but in order to avoid having a controversy later on I would declare it openly to the community that I had been convicted, or that I had been accused of this, but I think you should still select me and be open and transparent about it, bcause that's what this community is all about.  Knowing other cases, if I try to hide that in some jurisdictions under some law, there are people who thinks that I conduct misconduct, then even under the current Articles of Association, without this addition, this can backfire later on when the board discovers that and the lack of trust between this board member.

So, already, under the current Articles of Association, the board may be faced with this kind of judgment calls having to have been made once they discover hidden history of board members.  So

So I think what is attempted here, the way I read it, is an attempt to encourage, strongly encourage the candidate to self‑declare and be open and transparent about anything that may or may not be seen as a hindrance for becoming a good board member. 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Thank you, Hans Petter.  Sascha, I am not sure if I can satisfy all of your concerns here.  Is this enough for you now? 

SASCHA: It is not enough for me to vote for this amendment, to be honest, because I think the presumption of innocence is kind of one of the fundamental democratic principles and I don't think that just because somebody accused someone of fraud, and we have seen how easy it is to do that, without any evidence whatever, then I don't think that these candidates, if they declare themselves innocent of that, that should be held against them later. 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  I'm not sure I follow, but your comment has been noted.  Thank you, Sascha.

Then I'm going to go to Jan, who has been in the queue for a while.  Jan, please. 

JAN ZORZ:   Jan Zorz, also a member of the election task force.  I would like to add some thoughts on the discussion about the, breaching the Code of Conduct.  In my books, whoever breaches the Code of Conduct at the RIPE meeting or on the mailing list or elsewhere in interaction with the community, that are trusted contact that somebody can complain to and the trusted contacts are there to basically judge if the Code of Conduct was breached.  If it happens that this person is also nominated for ‑‑ or self‑nominated for the board of elections, then, well, tough luck.  But the measures are the same for every member of the community and this means that they cannot be nominated any more and run for the board.

It is very simple:  one Code of Conduct and one way to behave.

I disagree with this, that these things are tied to nominations or not.  They should be equal for everybody. 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Thank you for your comment, Jan.  Let's see, I have Rob next. 

ROB EVANS:  I'll be very brief.  I have taken up your time.  Come back really to what Jan was saying there. The problem is, as trusted contacts, we have confidants, and we ‑‑ if a complaint is made to us, we are really not at liberty to talk about it to anyone.  And the act of saying that someone should not stand for the board because of reported breaches in the Code of Conduct means we're breaching that confidence. 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Okay.  Thank you very much for that piece of feedback, Rob.  Okay, I see Sascha has withdrawn.  I think I'd like to close this topic now.  And I'd like to close the Q&A part of the report from the Executive Board.  Thank you, Piotr, for delivering it.

Then, next up is the draft RIPE NCC activity plan and budget 2021.  And I think Gwen is going to be presenting that.  So, please go ahead, Gwen. 

GWEN VAN BERNE:  Yes.  Thank you.  And I will start and then Hans will take over, and, after both our sessions in the total set of slides, we can answer any questions you might have.

So, my name is Gwen Van Berne.  I am the CFO for the RIPE NCC and it's my job to share with you the financial update about the RIPE NCC's financial performance.

Thank you so much, Hans.  Well, it's good to see you and I miss seeing you.  I hope you are all doing okay health‑wise, and also, that your organisations are doing okay in the current economic situation.  I think the Covid effects are, in that sense, a bit wicked, that the Internet is booming, so you must all be very busy with your organisations to deal with those consequences.  But I think, yeah, again the Covid effects are probably everywhere in our businesses, in our day‑to‑day operations, in our personal lives, also meeting and now online.  So thanks so much for hanging in there with us today and also, again, great that we have this online connection.

So far, the RIPE NCC is in good shape, but of course also Covid has had its effects on us, and we're going to share a bit more details today during this financial update.

So, on the agenda on slide 2, what we're going to be discussing is the financial performance, some key slides about membership development, a profit and loss, average cost per LIR, I'm going to share some details with you about the payment extension, what happened there, we're going to discuss the surplus, we have a voting proposal for you there to redistribute the 12.1 million, and the activity and budget plan for 2021, I will share some contact slides and then Hans will take over and will share the strategy and the details of next year's activity and budget plan.

So, for the newcomers, if you go to slide 3, just a very quick update about our financial strategy.  I think you are all very familiar with the slides.  We're a not‑for‑profit so we do not run a business model, it's a funding model, so the emphasis is really almost always on the cost side and making sure that we manage average cost per LIR, this is very important, and of course also the long‑term ambition is really that we try to keep the fees as low as possible to make sure that our services remain accessible for everyone, I think this is very important, and also very important element in the financial strategies that we always try to be very transparent in how we are utilising your funds.

And in that sense, I'm very pleased that we can also present to you next year's activity and budget plan in a new structure where financial accounting and management accounting is more aligned and we really believe that this overview gives more transparency, maybe we are into the first year it's more difficult because it might be a bit more difficult to compare the activities, but for the future we think that this is a really positive change and it will allow for better decision making and discussions I think also with you during the upcoming meetings.

So, to the financial update.  Slide 5.

Here you see, in a nutshell, the most important percentages with regards to RIPE NCC's financial performance.  Income cost and LIRs, income is a bit higher than we originally expected, which is very positive.  Costs are a lot lower, this is of course due to the Covid situation and the LIRs are slightly higher than expected.  So this is our estimate for the full year. 

And then if you go to the next slide, you can compare these percentages because here you have the actual numbers and you also, as a comparison, have the actual numbers for 2019, and there again you see that the income in the end, we now expect that we're going to end almost at 40 million this year.  The difference with our expectation was mostly because the assignment fees are a bit higher than we originally anticipated, and the expenses are of course a lot lower because of Covid, because we don't have costs for meetings, travel, so this has quite a big impact on the baseline costs of RIPE NCC.

So, yeah, in total, this is positive news because we can present to you a high redistribution amount of 12.1 million is now the expectation, which, on average, per member, is more than €500.  And then of course it depends a bit what the final number this year will be with the number of LIRs, but our expectation now is that we're going to end around 23,800, and then the after cost per LIR also again this year will show downward trend, but I'm going to present more details about that later on.

If you can go to the next slide, here you see the balance sheet.  I think this is always good because it gives a clear picture about what happened over the last years.  RIPE NCC is very solvent, so this is a great overview, very positive, we're in very healthy financial state.  You can clearly see that the surplus of last year, 6.7 million, was added to the capital reserve, we now saw an increase to a bit over 32 million, and yeah, again, I think the sheet looks very good and we're in good shape.

If you go to the next slide, here we would like to share a bit more details with you about the membership development.  I think we spoke about this every GM meeting that we have, because we knew of course with the IPv4 run‑out that there would come a moment that we would start to see a decline in membership.  I think now we have reached that point, because for the first time indeed we see that we have a little bit more closures than openings.  And what our expectation is for the coming years, we have, in the 25,000 LIRs that we currently still have, we have around 7,000 LIRs that are, how can I say, they are a conglomerates, like group LIRs, and you can refer to them that they have 2,000 mothers and 5,000 children and the children will merge with the mothers and then these 5,000 LIRs, they will go at a certain moment after the 24‑month waiting period, and we expect that, next year, that roughly 2,000 will go, and, the year after that again, roughly 2,000 will go.  In the end, of course, we hope that all 5,000 will go, but we see that not all LIRs close immediately after the 24 months, so there is always a bit of a delay.

And in the end, this exposes around seven million of our income, but because the influx of new members is still quite good, this can partly compensate that decline in income, and of course we can ‑ and we will ‑ come up with new charging schemes that make sure that the overall financial state remains healthy.

If you go to the next slide, you can see better what's happening with membership development next year, you can compare the new LIRs and the closures from 2020 with last year, and you still see that, again, the influx is quite stable, quite healthy and the closures, they do vary a bit, we do expect spikes in the coming months, this is also what you saw last year, and ‑‑ but we can still go down between 1,000 and 1,500 LIRs for the remainder of the years looking at the numbers that we are predicting today.

If you go to the next slide, you see what is costs in proportions. You have the four costs for the coming years, to the blue bars, and the green bars show the actual growth that we had since 2012, so the green is really the additional growth that we saw every year.

The grey bars show our predictions for the coming years, so this is an estimation.  So we expect that we're going to start in 2020 with 23,800 LIRs, 2,000 will consolidate, 1,200 will join, so in the end, it's a net decline of 800 LIRs, so we expect that by the end of 2020, we're going to see 23,000 LIRs.  That, then, again, will have to be the standard fee in 2021.  So this, of course, is the effect of membership composition on your new income members numbers for the following year.

If you go to the next slide you see the full P&L, the full revenue development over the last years, two things I want to point out.  I think in the dark blue you see the composition of the sign‑up fees compared to the full income numbers, and you see, of course, the enormous spike in 2019.  This was the year when we grew from 20,000 to roughly 25,000 LIRs.  So, the sign‑up fees were around 12 million euros, it was really a big chunk of money, but we always knew that this was happening and this was a temporary effect.  So this is also why we haven't changed our charging scheme in earlier stage and we always felt that these sign‑up fees versus the surplus kind of balanced each other out.

And, well, we had already expected this year the surplus would not be so high, but because of the low cost levels with Covid this year, it is again quite an interesting substantial surplus of 12 million, and for next year, 2021, but again we're going to present some more details later in this presentation and ‑‑ with Hans.  We still expect a healthy surplus of 5 million euro, approximately.  So that's still good and healthy.  And again, I think it's really also a matter of making sure that we manage the expense side and then come up also with good charging scheme proposals during the next GM meetings.

If you go to the next slide, you see one of our key metrics:   average cost per LIR.  This, of course, is a metric that we also communicate and closely monitor.  The original expectation was that the number would go above the 1,400 baseline fee again this year, but because the costs are so low this year, it did not happen this year but it will happen next year, because, yeah, we need ‑‑ with the cost levels for next year, the budget plan is 33.5 million, you need more than 24,000 LIRs to make sure that you stay on that level.  That's, we think, again, we have reached the tipping point and we have ‑‑ so the average cost per LIR will again go up a bit if the costs don't change and if the membership goes down.

If you go to the next slide, here we have some interesting data, it's a different topic but it shows the payment behaviour during Covid and I think it is also relevant for you to know.  So, last year, we decided, with the Covid situation, to give our members an extension.  So we agreed that the months, April, May and June, the members were allowed to pay a bit later.  So the positive thing is that almost all ‑‑ well, roughly a fourth of our membership, 26%, used this opportunity, so they paid us in April, May and June, and so they still paid on time, and that's, I think, the second interesting trend that you can see in this graph, that the percentage of members that paid us on time is improving every year, and of course this is a very positive trend because nobody wants to jeopardise the registrations, and I think both for you and for us, you know, the reminder process can be sometimes more work, so I'm very happy to see that this number is going up.

If you can go to the next slide, an important proposal that the board has for you today is the redistribution of the surplus, but I already mentioned it's 12.1 million, so this is a very good and solid and high number.  And if you go to the ‑‑ so normally, the options are, of course, redistribution or accumulating it in our capital reserves.  This is what we have done, thanks to your support last year.  So, the GM voted on three proposals:   full redistribution, full accumulation or 50:50, and the last option was chosen by the majority of the membership, and, thanks to that and thanks to your support, we have been able to build up more capital, which I think again what we saw with Covid, you know, black swan events can always happen so it's good to have a bit more reserves, and also under our risk appetite, the board have decided that what we always want to maintain is one year of operations in our financial reserves.  So the reserve are now 32.2 million, so if the expenses stay around that level, we are really in good shape and that is now the case, which can be shown on slide 18.

So, on slide ‑‑ sorry, so the voting is on 16 ‑‑ sorry, 18.  So here you see that the capital development is really good, so this allows us to propose the full redistribution for 2020.

Then, we go to the last slide about the activity and budget plan.  We have prepared a couple of slides for you.  The first one shows the budget development over the last ten years, and it compared this trend to the existing LIRs.

If you go to the next slide, you see what the actuals did, and of course the orange and the green lines they are very much alike, which is good.  The only deviation is this year, because it has been a very strange year with Covid and we haven't been able to utilise the money in full, but for  very good and understandable reasons, but this is why we saw this strange shift.

Of course, this triggers a question, so why now again with the numbers that we have around Covid, why submitting now again a higher budget for next year?  This of course has been debated extensively within RIPE NCC and also with the board.  It's a bit difficult to predict in full what's going to happen. Of course, if we cannot spend the money, we can never do it, but it was really difficult last summer to make accurate predictions about will we be able to organise again physical meetings?  Will we be able to do trainings in all the countries of our service region?  Can we go out to talk to regulators and governments about the trends that are happening to shape the future of the Internet?  So this is very uncertain, but we have put it in next year's budget.  So if you can go to the next slide, you do see the variance between the latest estimates for this year and the budget submission for next year.

So the budget, I think, is comparable also with the budget that we had last year, but we have again added costs for travel and outreach.  So, of course, this is not in the latest estimates.  The personnel costs are a little bit higher than the latest estimates.  This is also because we do expect to grow from 165 to 170 FTE, so there is some money allocated for that, so the actual cost will go up, that's our expectation.

And I think, of course, also, yeah, you have some small costs in office expenses and other expenses and consultancy is expected to go up compared to the SSA situation, because of the ‑‑ all the new strategic activity plans, and Hans will share some more details about that.  But also I think what we saw with Covid, that where we are now.  Luckily, investing again a lot in all our activities.  I think some investments were probably a little bit delayed in April and May, when Covid started, when everybody had to adapt to new ways of working, so this slowed down some investment there.  And again, I think also the plans for next year in information security, in compliance, I think also Felip mentioned a lot of activities that the registry is doing during the Services update, yeah, this of course also has an effect on the cost and this is why we expect that we're going to be investing a little bit more and we will need the support from experts to deal with these topics.

So this is it for me for now.  I think, all in all, yeah, we're in good shape and the financial messages are positive.  There is a good redistribution amount available of 12.1 million, and I now give the microphone to Hans for the follow‑up. 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Let's quickly move away from this slide and let's have all the questions after Hans Petter's presentation. 

GWEN VAN BERNE:  Yeah, because a lot of them can be covered there.  If not, then we can deal with them in one go.  Thank you. 

HANS PETTER HOLEN:  Thanks for that, Remco.  When we planned this, we thought it was natural to not only speak about the numbers but then also speak about what we plan to do for the numbers, and then take questions for both afterwards. 

So, as you all should know by now, in our yearly cycle we're now at the autumn GM where we take the input on the draft activity plan and budget and that will be finalised and approved by the board at their December board meeting, so we still take input on this and this is kind of my presentation of this to you and you can give input to me here or to the Board so that we can incorporate any improvements suggested.

There are ‑‑ this is then the plan for one year ahead.  We have clear statistics for each activity and we have financial figures included for each activity area, and this is then the easiest way for members to learn about what we're actually planning to do and the input you give us here can help us shape the direction for the next years.

I mentioned in my previous presentation that we do a survey every three years and that is another way of giving input in a longer term to this.

The plan is structured in three main areas:  it's the registry, it's the information services and it's the community and engagement, and, in addition to that, we have activities to support the organisation, also to sustainability of the RIPE NCC.

So, any good activity plan should really take start of in the strategy and while we have started to work on that, we haven't really completed the work yet.  But looking back at one of the takeaways from the last strategic period, the aim is for us to deliver a world‑class service while engaging to connect people to maintain the resilience and stability of the Internet.  And, of course, this is not something that we do alone, but this is something that we do for our members, with our members and with the community.

The strategic pillars in the past three years has been along the lines of service delivery and improving that, rethinking service delivery and ensuring ‑‑ to ensure the accuracy of the registry.  It's been a long engagement RIR system, and, last but not least, better understand our members and their needs moving forward.

So, our strategic focus in 2020, and this is going to be a sort of an in‑between year where we still have the direction of the previous strategy, but also are trying to look a bit ahead, it's going to be on improving existing services and processes.  It has been to maintain effective member outreach and external relations, modernising our technical infrastructure, dampening internal structure of the organisation and it's the last year of the three‑year strategic plan.

What's, then, the direction going forward?

Well, first and foremost, I think we should pick up at the last bullet‑point from the last strategy, the member focus.

So better understand our members to meet their needs and add value.  That's going to be the core of the future for the RIPE NCC.  It's the core of the future for any organisation to really understand their customers and what value their customers need.

In order to do so, we also need to engage, to carry out the outreach to all stakeholders, to stay connected and fulfil our goals, not only with the members, but with the community at large.

We still need to focus on service delivery, it's kind of a buzz word, but yes, I know, to digitise the trust to ensure the accuracy of the registry.  So by that I mean that when we, in the past, have relied on papers with ink and seals and whatever to prove authenticity, then in the future, we may be able to rely directly on company databases in the individual countries and on digital signatures.  That's not something that's done in one year but I think that's a journey that we need to start next year.

Of course, we are not alone in doing this.  We are part of the RIR system so we need to continue to work closely together with the other RIRs to do this.

So, better understand the members' need, engage with the community, strengthen compliance of the registry while reducing the effort needed to keep it up to date.  Automate and digitise and transform the data we collect through the amazing Atlas and RIS services into insight, which is really what could be valuable for the members and the community.

So that's kind of my very high‑level overview of the strategic thinking.  Of course this strategy process needs to be completed so there will be more work done going forward here but at least that's how I see where we are and the sort of imprint that I tried to do on the activities so far.

Looking at activities.

The registry, we are spending roughly 60 FTEs on this and we have operating expenses of 8.4 million, and all the capital expenditure is elsewhere, so, while there may be capital expenditure needed to run the registry, well, that's not budged as part of the registry. 

So what to do we do for this money?

We anticipate a greater workload.  As it has been mentioned, multiple LIRs transferred their resources, closed their accounts, once the 24‑month holding period expired.  So I think we're going to see an increased workload for the registry in both 2021 and 2022.  We will continue to improve our due diligence processes for registry updates to achieve the right balance between accuracy and compliance.  And we also need to work on a more effective service delivery, because one of the challenges that we have here is that we are really dealing with rather stringent legal processes in order to prove that the right persons on behalf of the right members do the right updates.  This may be seen as bureaucratic by the engineers, so we really need to work on how to make this smoother and cannot really just take an e‑mail and a good word for it.  We need to have proper documentation and legalised documents for this.

Of course we can mitigate this somewhat moving forward to do more automated checks for membership information against registries, and that becomes very important when it comes to dealing with sanctions because, today, it's a massive manual process to search the whole database of our members against the EU sanctions list, and that is something that we are now working on automating and that automation has other side effects as well that can be good for increasing efficiency.

So that could come into the active registry monitoring.  If we discovered that the company details for a member has changed, we can actually proactively contact the members if the data or records seems out of date and ask the members to confirm that they have indeed changed address or name or whatever.

RPKI is an important component in securing a stable and resilient Internet moving forward.  The RPKI trust anchor and the certificate authority are really important pieces in this security framework.  And in order to do that, we need to do third‑party audits of our internal framework.

And we really are aiming for an external attestation by an audit company, that may not happen in 2021, but if we're able to do it, that would be good.  And ideally, I would like to have full openness on security and compliance so that we could publish these reports fully.  Of course publishing a security report with security vulnerabilities means that we would have to fix those vulnerabilities before we publish the report, but I think that is the ultimate goal in working with security, we should not do security by obscurity but really be brave and be able to publish third parties' assessments that we are doing a good job in this area.

You already heard several times that the RPKI validator is up for retirement.  There will be a presentation in the Open Source Working Group about that tomorrow.

And we are also planning to migrate the RIPE database to the Cloud to have a greater flexibility and scaleability for this.

There is a project right now going on to do a release candidate migration as a proof of concept and, if that is successful, the plan is to utilise a Cloud infrastructure for running the database.

Information services: 

So another 43 FTEs and operating expenses of 8 million.  Here, you can see most the Capex, €929,000.  This is the area where we have the auth DNS service, that's ‑‑ that's not part of the DNS service that's very well known, it's the authoritative DNS that we do for some of our members, and for the reverse DNS there was a presentation about this in the DNS Working Group earlier today.  If you missed that, you can see that from the archive later on. 

Atlas is at a milestone, ten years old, so it's really beginning to become to teenager.  We are at the end of the current stock of the version 4 of the hardware, we are looking into either do a new batch of the working hardware or introduce a version 5 hardware based on the Open Source Turris platform from cz.nic.  We are also working to expand the software concept and developing for user‑friendly APIs, and, yes, we are aware that one of the board members is actually the CEO of cz.nic, so we will take any reasonable measure to make sure that he is not on the board when decisions about this ‑‑ not participating in the board deliberations when the decisions about this next generation of probes is taken, because the size of this contract is probably in the level that have to be decided by the board.

So just to give you my assurance there that I will do whatever is possible to follow our own purchasing procedures and make sure that we are open and transparent about this decision. 

RIPE Stat: 

Improvements to the user experience, the user interface, and that's a theme that goes across many of our services next year.  Moving parts to the Cloud again and improving the service monitoring.

Also an update to BGP Play with new features and performance improvement.


Collect routing information from the global Internet, focusing on providing more value to the community and establishing that your feedback mechanisms and understanding the service expectations for different user groups.

Here, I think it was already last Tuesday, we had an open house for RIS, where we have a new format to meet with the interested parties in the community to make input on a specific topic, and I heard that that was really successful and it gives us a lot of value on what to prioritise going forward.

I had the wrong slide up, so, all my last speak, all my last words was to this slide.  So moving on to the next slide.

In this area, we also have the technical IT security part, where we have been working with the SIS control framework to cover all our operational and technical business processes, and the next level now is to integrate this further with the RIS management framework and start working on 2701 compliance and eventually a certification.  That may not happen in 2021, but it's a long‑term goal.

Research is an important area; you heard Robert talk about that earlier today.  And really, leveraging the data we have in the Cloud to provide shorter time to insight for research needs is one of the key elements for that area.

Of course, IT support ,and you saw already in the budget that we have an increased use of consultants in the budget next year, we have a lot of technical depth, not only in IT but also in the software engineering part of the registry, that we are trying to address and get rid of.  Of course, the move to the Cloud is one element here, but it takes more than that as well, so that we can focus more on the core mission and try to sort of spend our talent where we can really make a difference and then by buying off‑the‑shelf services from other provider.

Last area is the community and engagement.  40 FTEs, operating expenses of 8.5 million euro.  You see these three areas are roughly equal in size.  And in this area, it's still continuing the support for the community while picking some highly targeted areas for engagement.

Also, we believe that we still have to spend quite a lot of time on improving online engagement next year.

Although we have budgeted for a full year of RIPE organised meetings, so we do have the money to go back to physical events if that is possible, but my honest opinion I think we will face serious travel restrictions at least the first part of next year as well.

So, after that, I think the next big thing for us when we have refined the virtual events is to look at how can we create hybrid events where we have some people participating physically and some people participating remotely while still trying to treat them equal and not create a sort of first class/second class meeting experience.

RIPE Chair:   

We are supporting the RIPE Chair team, the remuneration and travel expenses are in the budget.  I saw there were some questions on the mailing list regarding the size of this budget.  It has been based on the travel expenses from the previous RIPE Chair, that is me, for the last couple of years.  I mean, this year it's not particularly relevant, because previous years, so we believe that that should be reasonable.  And the contract with the RIPE Chair is, as you probably know now, that's being negotiated between the RIPE NCC exec board and the RIPE Chair.

And that is ‑‑ the amount, the total amount that's put in the budget here.

I do think that this is a reasonable‑sized budget, but this will not in any way be limiting the RIPE Chair's teams activities.  If there are reasonable requests about this budget, I will, of course, discuss this with the board in order to accommodate for the reasonable support that we believe the RIPE community should have in this area.

Enlisting external expertise to develop awareness of regulatory development and our ability to engage with public authorities.  Within that is a lot along the lines of sanctions and other regulatory challenges outside the EU, inside the EU, where we need external expertise in addition to our excellent internal legal team to work on this.

Next year, the RIPE NCC will chair the Number Resource Organisation, NRO, so that will be additional work on me but also on several of my colleagues that will share some of the teams in the NRO structure.

Finally, develop online content for the academy, it's very important, certified professionals is increasingly important.  We foresee a strong growth in that area.  And rolling out the additional certified professional exams to cover the remaining of the training content is also going to be a strong focus in this area.

We have budged here for a full year of face‑to‑face training courses, so we have the money to do that if that's possible, but we are, of course, as the situation is right now, expected to deliver more online courses and online learning due to the Covid‑19.  And I think, I mean, a general thread in all of this is that while we have learned now that we can do a lot remotely, we need to keep that lesson and build on that for the future while we still hopefully not too far away returning to also physical presence.

Organisational sustainability: 

That's another 27 FTEs, another 7 million and a Capex of 143, and this is all about the organisation, the development of staff, and making sure that we have the right facilities, although having an office right now doesn't seem like an advantage, but I do firmly believe that we will return to the office sooner rather than later, and that will still be  great importance to the RIPE NCC.

Legal is also in this area.  We do see that the scarcity of before is increasing the complexity of legal challenges.  So, a lot of challenges in the registry actually is escalated to legal when it comes to mergers and transfers and so on.

And there are ‑‑ the risk of dispute over resources is increasing.

So, we need to continue to monitor legislation that could impact our operations and remain compliant.  No only is the legal team the internal legal department, the fourth or fifth line of support, it's also the regulatory affairs department to monitor all our ‑‑ all the regulations that impact us within and outside Europe.  Of course they are working closely with EU here so it's not all on them alone, the external facing things, but it's important and significant part of their work.

Sanctions compliance: 

I have mentioned that I don't know how many times already.  It is and has to be an area of focus.  I so wish that I could sort of strike that out and say that we have a free card saying that sanctions does not apply to the RIPE NCC Services.  That's still my ultimate goal.  But I do believe that we need to invest in this area to be able to document that we are compliant and that we have to live with sanctions imposed by the Dutch and the EU regulations.

And it's really important to me and to the RIPE NCC that we do not weaken the RIR system in the way we are acting here or the way that sanctions are applied to us.

And we have budgeted that separately to make that visible.

Of course I mentioned information security and compliance, and I have also set aside some money in this area.  We do have technical security in the information technology area, we do have compliance in the registry area, but there is also a budget here for the overall information security activities where I'm thinking specifically in the direction of ‑‑ in the direction of not only internal focus on internal awareness, but also working with the community in this area, and providing the transparency that was requested in the Services Working Group so that we figure out how to leverage the security work that we're doing internally, also making it available for members to build on.

So, that sums up to a budget that increases with 3% compared to 2020, it's a 3% increase in FTEs, from 165 to 170.  We expect 23,000 LIRs at the end of 2021, and, I mean, this is guesswork as much as anyone, what will happen next year.  I received a message here while Gwen was speaking that, oh, but our predictions are way too conservative.  This is going to go well, we are going to see a 3 to 4% growth.  There are, of course, more optimistic scenarios than what we have built in the budget.  But I think it's prudent to be conservative in the budget.  The cost of LIR is expected to be slightly about the membership fee 1459.  The reason for that when I looked into the details, when we look at the number of members in the incoming part of the year and the out coming part of the year, not the development through the year so this is ‑‑ there is an an explanation to that part.  But I think roughly at the membership at the annual level.

Budget income of 38.566 million euros, and an estimated surplus of 5.2 million euro, so the surplus is really the sign of things for new members that comes in.

So, yeah, that was it, and now we are prepared to take questions, Remco. 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Thank you, Gwen and Hans Petter, for a very extensive overview of the financials and the activity plan.  I have three people lined up for questions.  Dmitry has been waiting for a long time so I'll let him go first.  Dmitry, is the question you'd like to ask the one that is in the Q&A window? 

AUDIENCE SPEAKER:   Thank you very much.  I am glad to see you all.  I want to say some not good thing for you.  I do not understand if we open with our documents we can read that the RIPE NCC is an organisation responsible for distributing and registering Internet number resources.

So what we are looking at now.  It's ‑‑ we must understand where the problem is about IPv4.  It's not a problem about the necessary RPKI organisation.  We are very much talking about not real programmes, what we can in activity see for the future.  We couldn't see what we will do in the future.  The problems is staying.  Nothing changed, with money which we can see was here, it's only because my company paid three times, many companies pays more money and more money, but, okay, it's no problem with money, we will pay, pay, pay but now we already can't pay, what we have now, we have living in England in the middle of England with landlords, we have a ground, and we do not to do anything with this ground.  It's saying empty. We have a situation in IPv4.  So, it's reverse for the organisation, we must decide what we must do now, because we say we have money, next year it will be bigger, bigger budget and we will already pay, pay, pay, but we have remained functions.  How will we distribute our IPv4 slice, what are we to do in the future?  Why are you talking about this?  Because at first it's easy maybe for some companies to migrate from IPv4 to IPv6, because we have not so different infrastructure.  But for ISP it's not so easy because we have a large amount of infrastructure.  It's all need to be upgraded.  So what we will do tomorrow?  We can see in this budget what we will do something to the people who are landlords now will pay more, because if it will be like that, it will want to leave all where we are not needed in IPv4.  It's good ‑‑

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Dmitry, can I ask you to come to a point please, to a question, because I appreciate your statement, but ‑‑

AUDIENCE SPEAKER:   My question is:  At first, why we do not discuss inactivity with problem really?  If we are RIPE members at first, maybe with discussion must be more activity.  All of the members must be having these discussions because it's really serious things, you wrote itself, it's IPv4 is instability situation for organisation. 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Okay.  So.‑‑

HANS PETTER HOLEN:  If I will try to answer your question here and thank you very much for pointing to this.  I agree with you that this is a very important area to work on.

Gwen mentioned in her financial presentation that, looking forward at the numbers, we normally present in the spring meeting the charging scheme for the next year, so we did this spring decide on the charging scheme for 2021, so it was not the time to propose any changes there now.  But it is on my agenda to analyse the current charging scheme and effects and propose an updated charging scheme going forward.  There was a proposal for a charging scheme a year ago, that was voted down, so we need to do a better job this time.  And of course there is going to be, as you say, discussions between the members that's been here for a long time and have a lot of of address space, versus new members who pay a lot for a lot less address space, and part of what Gwen was discussing on the number of LIRs that will be closed, that is going to hurt our revenue.  So I think that's part of the answer to your question.

We will have a look at this and we will make ‑‑ we will discuss this with the board and we will have proposals for the GM next year for a revised charging scheme.

Now, as you said, that the RIPE NCC is the register to register IP addresses, yes, that is true, but that's not all we are.  In the Articles of Association from the beginning when the RIPE NCC was set up, it was also a very important part of the organisation to do additional services.  So if you look at the RIPE NCC as a land registry keeping track of all the property in the country like ‑‑ then many land registries also does a national survey, a mapping service, and that is part of what we do on the information services, we gather a lot of data that can be used to ensure the accuracy of the registry and used for insight in the Internet.

So I think it's important to say that we don't only provide registration services, while that is a very important part of what we do.  So your comments are heard and I will take those into consideration when we make the plans for next year.  Thank you. 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Thank you, Hans Petter.  Next in the queue I see Erik Bais. 

ERIK BAIS:  In the last two months there have been ‑‑ I have been involved in a late payment for a member, for one of the customers that I was still administrator for in their LIR, and I found a difference between the intent for LIRs that are about to be closed because of late payments and for the payments that were actually set in the SSA and what happens during the operational procedures within the NCC about termination of the SSA and then re‑opening the SSA by an e‑mail and actually have the member pay the re‑opening fee.

The point that I was making towards the NCC during this process is that if the NCC terminates the SSA, the contract is gone, and if the contract is not gone at that point but it's considered a late fee, then there are Dutch regulations for that for a specific percentage of the outstanding invoice, which is I think about 7% as a maximum set by law.

So if we're talking about ‑‑ if it's a late fee, then the amount in the SSA which is currently stated is incorrect, if we're talking about a termination of the SSA, that means that a new SSA needs to be signed by the member which is currently made and with that the ability for them to reuse the same numbers that they have been assigned in the past because there is a time difference between when the e‑mails are being sent, the payment and when the actual deregistration is being done.  This has been discussed ‑‑ I have had contact with Graham and one ‑‑ and Remco on this.  I think there should be some clarity on this process to make it more clear in the documentation and also have a review with this with Legal to make sure that the current process makes more sense and is actually clear and is not scattered around in three different documents. 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  All right.  Erik, thank you for bringing this to the attention of the General Meeting, and I know we have had a conversation about this before, I think it is a very valid point you raise and I would now like to ‑‑ very much like for Hans Petter and/or Gwen to see if they have any feedback on this. 

HANS PETTER HOLEN:  I don't want to comment on the case specifically, but it's been noted and we will definitely do as you suggest to make sure that we are indeed compliant.  We believe we are compliant.  That's the advice I got from our legal department.  But I think also one of the root causes of this problem is indeed the very high signup fee that was put in place in times of scarcity, so that we wanted it to be, to cover our costs and a bit with setting up new LIRs, so I think also clarifying the procedures as you suggest but also look carefully about the sort of the signup fee in general in the revised charging scheme next year is also on my desk here, because if we understand your concern. 

GWEN VAN BERNE:  Can I add something to Erik's question.  What we have also seen, Erik, in the SSA, that there is an additional paragraph that states that with an written authorisation that we can reactivate the SSA, so in that sense, I think, legally, it's for sure robust enough to charge the opening fee of €2,000, but I think again your point is very valid, and we are going to look at our charging scheme in the coming months, so we will see how we can come up with an easy and understandable charging scheme that also works operationally and is understandable for the membership.

REMCO VAN MOOK:  I'll take it as an action on the board to come up with a response on this topic at a later point. 

ULKA:  Hi.  I  am opening out this question on behalf of Wolfgang Zancker who put it in the Q&A.  He is asking:   Regarding office costs, do you expect to have the same rate of office presence as pre‑Covid or will there be a higher percentage of work from home resulting in potentially lower office expenses? 

HANS PETTER HOLEN:  Yeah, thank you very much for that question.  I assume that will go directly to me.  So we do have a long‑term rental agreement for our office so I don't see any short‑term changes in the cost for maintaining the office.  So, in the budget, we have budgeted with the same level.  Of course we probably have to do more investments in the office to improve the structure for remote meetings and maybe also we have done quite some investments in order to make the office Corona‑proof this year, but as you point to, we are of course seeing that remote work works excellent.  I don't think we will ‑‑ I don't think anybody wants to work remotely 100% of the time, but to have much more flexibility than we had in the past to work from home is definitely something that I am foreseeing in the future.

So, longer term, after the end of this contract, what the structure will be then, that's several years ahead of us, so I won't even speculate into that. 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Thanks, Hans Petter.  I trust that answers Wolfgang's question.  Ulka, you came back, is there another question? 

ULKA:  There is a question from Tony Mueller from and he is asking:   What does move to the Cloud mean in the context of RIPE NCC?  And what are we really expecting to get?  I guess we should have a fairly steady load on infrastructure.  If it means going to one of the big Cloud provider, which ones are they? 

HANS PETTER HOLEN:  You are quite right, we do have a steady load, but we do also have to reinvest every third, fifth year in significant infrastructure.  What we do see and what you will have heard presented in some of the Working Groups already is that we are looking at utilising some of the analytical tools that you will find in the Cloud provider, so we're looking at several Cloud providers for the infrastructure part, like Amazon and Google.  And we have also several years ago moved some of the services that we're using such as the ticketing system also to Cloud provider, so this is not a decision to move everything to the Cloud but to look carefully about services that are provided out there, and migrate them.  And if I were to become a bit political here, I would say that if there was a European Cloud provider or an in‑service region Cloud provider that could compete with the functionality we need, I would be more than willing to consider that one as well. 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  All right.  Thank you, Tony, for the question.  Thank you, Hans Petter, for responding.  Do I have anyone else?  Going once, twice.  Thank you, Gwen and Hans Petter, for extensive update.  Thank you to the audience for very insightful questions.  And we're going to move on to the next point on the agenda.

There is going to be a resolution that we are going to vote on the agenda item 8 that I won't read out now.

Agenda item 6:   RIPE executive election task force.  You have received that during the NCC Services Working Group session and if you look at the agenda there is a link to the task force report if you'd like to read it.

Moving on to agenda item 7:   

Amendments to the RIPE NCC Articles of Association.  This is going to be a presentation done by our Chief Legal Officer, Athina.  Athina, the floor is yours.

ATHINA FRAGKOULI:  Hello again.  Let me share my screen.  I am going to present on the proposed changes to the Articles of Association.  You have three proposed resolutions this time.  We decided not to have like all proposed amendments in one resolution, because some of them you might find acceptable, you want to vote upon and others maybe you won't agree on, so, instead of going like all or nothing in one resolution, we decided to divide them in accordance with the content. 

So, resolution number 2, is about changes from the Dutch law, we'll have to implement in our Articles of Association.

Resolution number 3 is about implementation of the recommendations of the Executive Board election task force.

Resolution number 4 is about increasing the number of Executive Board members that can join and present in the RIPE NCC.

Let's start with resolution number 2.

It's about the definition of the annual report.  In this definition, we refer to a specific term in the Dutch law (Dutch word) which has changed in the Dutch law.  It's now (speaking Dutch).  The difference is instead of the report of the year, it's the report of the board.  This new term does not include any more the financial report, and so we had to amend that as well.

So, now, the annual report, the definition of it is, has been updated to have both the (speaking Dutch), the Executive Board report and the financial report as it's reflected in reality, in practice.

That's resolution 2.

Resolution number 3: 

Here we have proposed amendments in two articles, Article 9 and Article 18.  Let's start with Article 9.

Currently, a nomination for the appointment of an Executive Board member needs just a region support by at least five members.

As we have heard from the Executive Board elections task force, there is a proposal there to have additional requirements to that.  There are two extra requirements.  One requirement is for the nominee to submit a certified copy of an official identification document and a signed statement that declares adherence to the Code of Conduct for candidates.  We talked about it already.

And that this nominee never committed fraud or other financial misconduct in any jurisdiction.

This comes from the elections task force and it needed to be added to the Articles of Association.

Also, in Article 9 we proposed some further amendments for the clarification of the process.

Right now, the wording of this ‑‑ of the article gives the impression that if we have ‑‑ if the number of nominees does not exceed the number of the available seats, the nominees may be automatically appointed.  This is not the case.  This has never happened.  For every seat of the Executive Board, we need to have an appointment by the GM, and this is something we want to clarify by moving the specific process to Article 18.2.

So there is no change in the process.  It's just a clarification to avoid misunderstandings.

Accordingly, we change Article 18, because we add this clarification from Article 9.  Again no changes in the process.

And every time we look at the Articles of Association, there is always some ‑‑ there are always improvements.  Editorial improvements cannot help but we want to make it always look better.

That's resolution number 3.

Finally, the last resolution has to do with the representation rights of the Executive Board.  Currently, two members of the Executive Board acting jointly are authorised to represent the association.  This comes from a time where the Executive Board consisted of five members.  This has changed, it has been some years, now we have seven board members.  So, it's only appropriate that the number of the members that can represent the association also increases.  So, instead of two, the proposal is to have four members acting jointly that are allowed to represent the association.

And that was Resolution 4.

So, if there are any questions? 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Thank you very much for that presentation, Athina.  Let's see, I have one question in audio from Peter Koch.  Peter, go ahead. 

PETER KOCH:  Thanks, Remco, and thanks, Athina.  I am just wondering when the number of board members increased from five to seven, and two, that is less than half of the board members were able to represent the company before, why is the step now to make that four instead of, say, three, which is still under 50%? 

ATHINA FRAGKOULI:  Is this something you want to ‑‑

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Well, that's a very valid question, Peter.  I think that making this change is very much going with the sign of the times, the interests are getting ‑‑ the interests in the activities of the RIPE NCC is getting larger, the impacts we're having is larger.  There is more pressure on the RIPE NCC and the RIR system as a whole.  This is part of basically good housekeeping, cleaning up our processes, where the RIPE NCC has been doing that improving internal controls and so on.

This is basically the board doing the same thing.  However, we can't just do that in like a separate board document.  If we want to change something like this, it has to be actually in articles.  So that's why this is in there.  I hope that sufficiently answers your question.  So this is something that the board very much wants in order to basically control itself better in the future.

Then I have ‑‑

Falk Von Bornstaedt:  May I add to this. I would like to add to this, this is also reflecting a way that we no longer need to send around signed papers, but we can do electronic signing, so it's easier to have four people signing the same thing than in the past.  So it's also reflecting technical progress. 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  That is very true.  So indeed, I think ten years ago when I first joined the board, having four board members sign a document like signing a visa application for the RIPE NCC employee for example, one of the documents I had to sign, if you had to send that around all of the service region to get enough signatures for the board, that have been would entirely ‑‑ it would have been been a nightmare, so yes, it is actually now possible was to get more done this way.  So thank you for that addition, Falk.

Let's see.  Then I'm going to go to Dmitry, do you have a new question? 

DMITRY:  I don't want to decide quickly Resolution 3 text.  Can you show me on the screen the changes?  It was five slides ‑‑ three slides ago.  I want to talk about one thing.  I do not understand Resolution 3. 

ATHINA FRAGKOULI:  Because there are a couple of amendments there. 

DMITRY:  It was about the members ‑‑ change ‑‑ yes, this one.  Let's look at last, what we can read "Never committed fraud or other financial misconduct in any jurisdiction."  So my friend, if I live in Russia, it's no problem to have some maybe problem in Zimbabwe.  If some country makes sanctions about you or they think it will be in any jurisdictions, it's not correct I think.  And "Never committed fraud."  Okay, in all jurisdictions we have some time where your misconduct states nothing ‑‑ in Russian it's where time of ‑‑ I'm not ‑‑ I can't say how it's ‑‑ but I think that it's incorrect, absolutely.  And I can say that it makes problem for us in future. It might be more correct ‑‑

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Thank you for your comment, Dmitry.  I am fairly sure that that is a bit lost in translation.  The whole point of the signed statement is that you, as a candidate, certify that you have never committed fraud in a jurisdiction.  If you do something in Russia that is illegal, in Zimbabwe, as long as you don't do it in Zimbabwe and you are not willingly doing it because it's illegal in Zimbabwe, I mean, there is no point in trying to do that, right.  So, I am fairly ‑‑ I mean, I am fairly confident that what you are concerned about it actually not applicable here.  Athina. 

ATHINA FRAGKOULI:  Yes, I understood the question in a different way.  And I understood that, well, if someone perhaps is in Russia and commits fraud or financial misconduct somewhere else, they should not be taken into account which I would say actually this is the whole point of this wording, but perhaps I understood the question wrong. 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Okay.  Thank you for that, Athina.  Next up I see Liman, go ahead. 

AUDIENCE SPEAKER:   Liman.  This is Lars Liman from NetNod.  I am a bit on the same track because I think these words are very harsh.  Say I committed fraud when I was 18 in Zimbabwe and I was sentenced to a full act, and now, 35 years later, I have lived a perfect life ever since, and I would like to step onto the board, shall that baggage that I have from 35 years ago which I have served a sentence for actually prevent me for even being a candidate to the Board?  So I would like to see this be, instead that I must be transparent about whatever allegations or convictions ‑‑ you can phrase it differently ‑‑ that you know have been part of my life before and I would leave it up to the General Meeting to decide whether they want to take me or not.  It shouldn't prevent me from being a candidate.  But I can ‑‑ I must certify and I must be transparent about this.  And if I haven't been transparent, then in a later stage I can be, you know, tossed off the board because I lied in this certification, but the certification should not require me to sign that I didn't.  It should require me to be transparent.  Thanks. 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Thanks very much.  I see Erik probably with his task force hat on. 

ERIK BAIS:  Yes, indeed.  I was part of the task force.  This is a difficult topic.  In the Netherlands, normally if you join a board or a foundation, you are required to provide a statement of well behaviour in that being provided by ‑‑ you can request that by the government, and that can be for financial fraud, criminal background, that kind of ‑‑ it's a background check.  Although we have a very large service region, those kind of things are not to be expected from all different countries in the service region, and then as the task force, we also discussed there are certain countries that have very strict regulations that we, as a community, try to be inclusive for all different kind of backgrounds, orientations and which may in some countries in our service regions might find ‑‑ may find a criminal activity, of criminal behaviour, and so that's why we stated it, you know, we want to have a self‑declaration instead of providing this harsh.  So, I do agree that it is to make sure we are as transparent as possible without limiting to certain countries where there are very strict rules in this where they have different legal requirements or legal implications. 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  All right.  Thank you for that clarification, Erik.  Liman, would you like to respond to that. 

AUDIENCE SPEAKER:   Yes, I would, in one corner when you request at least in the environment where I sit, if you request such a certification from your legal authorities, it is time‑limited.  It will say you haven't, in the past five years or something, committed blah blah blah.  It doesn't go further back than that.  Or there is a certain time limit to that, and I would be willing to put a time limit in here as well, that would work for me.  But, I still think that the important thing is to be transparent and that the admittance process for being admitted as a candidate should not bar people ‑‑ it should produce a transparent picture of the person who is the candidate, but the General Meeting should be the ones who decide whether they want him or her or not. 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Thank you for that, Liman.  Next up is Dmitry. 

DMITRY:   So, just a repeat of statement of Liman that it should be both time limitation and I guess certification and I guess two clarifications I would call for.  Put maybe the residential jurisdiction, so we take the Zimbabwe versus Russia case away, then still a one for the lawyers here, a certified copy of their official certification document, because right now it sounds that I can submit somebody else's.  It doesn't state it clear in the text.  I am not a student of the law school...

REMCO VAN MOOK:  That's a very insightful comment.  Thank you very much for that, Dmitry.  Next up is Sascha. 

SASCHA:   It didn't show me that I was actually in the queue.  I actually just want to respond to Erik there earlier.  This certificate of good conduct is not actually available everywhere.  Ireland, for instance, doesn't have an official process for that.  The best you can hope for is that the policeman who knows you writes a letter and signs it and stamps it.  This has actually caused problems for the vetting procedures for working with children and that as well. 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Thank you for that, Sascha.  I think that not being ‑‑ not having that sort of document in every jurisdiction is exactly the reason why the task force was looking for another way to get something on here.  Next up is Brian Nisbet. 

BRIAN NISBET:  So, while I completely appreciate the need enhanced governance and to avoid some of the things that we have experienced, listening more of this, looking at the resolution, looking again at the document, I would really like to sign a note of caution of all of these recommendations being taken up by the board ‑‑ you know, certainly the ones that are in what was a very quick process and I really feel the more I think about this, and you know, that there are going to be unintended consequences of this and we're going from a task force resolution into the editing of the Articles of Association of the organisation which is a very different process.  And, I mean, obviously everyone has their own vote and voice, I really feel that we're ‑‑ there is a lot going on in this and I think that it needs more time before it becomes a part of the articles, which then require a vote, further vote to change. 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Right.  Thank you very much for that, Brian.  I think that a lot of this is to do with the fact that the board wanted to have something in place before the next election cycle, and the only logical way of doing was getting something adopted or in this General Meeting.  So, while I completely agree that we probably don't have something that's perfect right now, I do think that what is proposed here is markedly better than what we have right now.  And I would still strongly suggest for everyone to agree that this is an improvement over the current situation, and this is ‑‑ this is an evolving process.  I would very much like for the members to continue to provide us with input on how they would see their election cycle and their election process to evolve and take this into account.

ULKA:  I have a question from Antonio Prado of SDTAP.  Just a comment on the the point:   Who is going to check if the declaration is true and how could one ever check it?  Should a controller request information from any government in the world? 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Thank you for that comment.  I think that is exactly why the task force ended up with a self‑certification that is now reflected in resolution number 3.

I don't see anything ‑‑

ATHINA FRAGKOULI:  Can I say something?  I am ‑‑ I would like to add a comment to Brian's question about why do we have to change the articles right now?  The recommendations were requiring someone that does not submit an ID to be eliminated from the process and someone that does not adhere to the Code of Conduct to be eliminated from the process, and also someone that has committed fraud or a financial misconduct to be eliminated from the process.  The only way to enforce such a measure is by changing the articles.

If we don't want to have such harsh measures, perhaps ‑‑ indeed this needs to go back to the task force and perhaps maybe some more thought about it needs to be done.  But for now, this recommendation, the only way to enforce these recommendations were by amending the articles, and indeed we had to be ready for the next election. 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Thank you for that clarification, Athina.  I'm going to go to Erik first, as he probably wants to respond with his task force hat on, then after that I'm going to Brian and then Rob and then other people in the queue, keeping ‑‑ bearing in mind the time we're approaching five to eight, I would like to close the queues at this point. 


ERIK BAIS:  Very shortly.  In addition to that, we do need to have an official ID for anybody who is being selected for the board by the members, and if we do not have an ID, we need to have that in order to enrol them in the chamber of commerce.

The other part, which has also been discussed in the task force, is that there is a liability part and we need to make sure that we have done, as an organisation, as much as we can to make sure that we know who is getting on the board and that the organisation, the NCC or the board, cannot be held liable if things happen and we said, well, we didn't do our homework. 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Thank you for that clarification.  Next up is Brian. 

BRIAN NISBET:  I completely understand why the changes need to be made in the Articles of Association.  That's not the question I was asking nor the point I was making.  Sure any changes have to be made in order to be enforced have to be in the Articles of Association.  Again, my point is, I feel this is too much in one go and I feel there will be unintended consequences from this.  I think in the chat people are saying if there were separate resolutions or broken up a bit more rather than everything in one go.  Anyway...

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Thank you very much for that, Brian.  Rob. 

ROB EVANS:  Just quickly, I know we want to get some food and drink.  I completely agree that changes need to happen.  If the requirement for an ID is so overriding, that should probably have been spelled out and done separately.  And the thing is, we did get through this last election cycle.  It was traumatic, yes, there were problems with it that needed to be fixed, but there is no reason to think that we should not get through the next election cycle as well and do this properly, in my opinion. 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Thank you for that.  Then next up is Lars Liman. 

LARS LIMAN:  So, I cannot support this resolution as it's written right now, and I suggest that other members also reject this and have it returned to the Working Group to ‑‑ sorry, the task force to rephrase this last bullet here on the slide.  And take into account the criticism that's been stated at this meeting.  Thank you. 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Thank you, Liman.  I said I was going to close the microphones, which I am now doing.

So, thank you all for your very valuable feedback, and thank you, Athina, for presenting, and now we are moving on to agenda item 8, which is the riveting voting on resolutions, and I think there is a presentation by Alun Davies about this. 

ALUN DAVIES:  Thank you very much.  Let me just get my slides up.  As usual, at this point in the GM I do a quick ‑‑ my name is Alun Davies from the RIPE NCC, I'll take a quick run through the voting procedure so we're all clear on what to do.

So, starting off, let's just take a quick look at some registration figures.  Of 19,622 people eligible to vote at this GM, 1,703 votes were actually registered, that's an 8.7% turnout.  Members at this meeting represent 74 countries in total. 

As we see here, like a bit of a spread over the map of the countries represented at this GM.  And Germany leads with 236 registrations altogether.

Okay, so let's get into actually voting on the resolutions.

As you see there are four resolutions to be voted on in total at this GM.  Each of these requires more than 50% of yes votes to pass, and, as always, we do note that abstentions are noted but do not count towards the end vote.

How to vote: 

This is the important bit.  Voting can take place once the Executive Board declares voting open at the end of this part of the GM.  Obviously voting by paper ballot is not an option this time around, but electronic voting is available to all participants.

You can cast your vote until 9 a.m. on Friday morning, that's local Amsterdam time, UTC plus 1 on Friday, 30th October, this week.

And as with previous GMs, we would use a third‑party voting system, BigPulse, for counting the votes.

Okay.  So, hopefully you will all have received an e‑mail that looks like this, and it contains a link, and once voting has been opened at the end of this GM, you can go ahead and click that link and it will take you through to BigPulse.

Once you are there, you will see something like this.  This is an example from the last GM, last May.  Each vote will be listed in turn for you to vote on.  And you will also get links there to the relevant documentation on each resolution.

If you are voting on behalf of more than one member, you'll be able to adjust the weight you assign to each vote.  Once you have entered the vote, you will get taken through to the confirmation page.  Note that you will receive an e‑mail receipt for each individual vote cast, and when you are on this page, you can click to choose what information is available in each of those receipts.

Okay.  So, as I said, results will be announced at 10:45 UTC plus 1 on Friday morning.  A member of the Executive Board will announce the results.  And you can follow this announcement either via your RIPE 81 Meetecho link, so this will take place as part of the regular RIPE 81 meeting that you have been following on Meetecho if you are registered for RIPE 81 right after the Community Plenary session, the first part of the Community Plenary on Friday morning.  Or, if you are not wanting to jump into the Meetecho platform, you can also follow the announcement on the GM web pages on via the GM live stream.

Okay, and with that, are there any questions on the voting procedure? 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Before we go to any questions, I have Athina, who would like to correct something in your presentation that I think is very relevant.  Athina...

ATHINA FRAGKOULI:  Just a clarification.  Alun was right that the first resolution, in order to be passed, we need an absolute majority, more than 50%.

Regarding the second, third and fourth resolution, this is about amendments to the Articles of Association, and we need a two thirds, a majority of two thirds for the resolution to pass.  Thank you. 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Thank you for that very important clarification, Athina. 

LARS LIMAN:  Can you also clarify, you are saying, using for the first resolution, the 50% barrier, but you also said that abstentions don't count.  So if I just do the numbers, we have 100 registered votes, 95 of them abstain, three people vote in favour and two people vote against; it passes, does it? 

ALUN DAVIES:  That's correct. 

REMCO VAN MOOK:  So, yes.  Don't abstain. 

LARS LIMAN:  Exactly, I encourage all members here to vote.  Thank you.

REMCO VAN MOOK:  Okay.  I don't think I have anyone else.  Thanks again, Athina, for clarifying this.

Then I am closing the Q&A part of this.  And then we go to the most exciting part of the whole General Meeting, which is the reading out of the resolutions by the meeting Chair. 

Resolutions to be voted on at this General Meeting: 

Resolution number 1: 

"The General Meeting approves that the RIPE NCC 2020 financial surplus will be redistributed to the membership in 2021."

Next slide please: 

Resolution number 2: 

"The General Meeting, in accordance with Article 21 of the Articles of Association, adopts the amendments of Article 1 of the Articles of Association as proposed and announced by the Executive Board on 28 October 2020.  Furthermore, the General Meeting instructs and authorises the Executive Board to perform or to have performed all that is required to have the amendments executed before a Dutch civil law notary."

Resolution number 3: 

"The General Meeting, in accordance with Article 21 of the Articles of Association, adopts the amendments to Article 9.1 and Article 18 of the Articles of Association as proposed and announced by the Executive Board on the 28 October 2020.  Furthermore, the General Meeting instructs and authorises the Executive Board to perform and have performed all that is required to have the amendments executed before a Dutch civil law notary."

Resolution number 4: 

"The General Meeting, in accordance with Article 21 of the Articles of Association, adopts the amendments to Article 10.4 of the Articles of Association as proposed and announced by the Executive Board on 28 October 2020.  Furthermore, the General Meeting instructs and authorises the Executive Board to perform or to have performed all that is required to have the amendments executed before a Dutch civil law notary."

I think that is it.  Voting is now going to open.  If you don't see it open immediately, that means there is a couple of hamsters in the wheels doing very busy and important work.  Bear with us for a minute.  Voting will be open until 9 a.m. on Friday, Central European Time, UTC plus 1.  We will be suspending the General Meeting now and reconvene on Friday October 30th at 10:45 UTC plus one, that is Central European Time, to read out the voting results.

With that, I would like to thank all of you for attending this General Meeting and I wish you all a very good evening. 

Thank you very much and have a good night.

The meeting then adjourned.