The ICANN 67 Public Meeting, which was scheduled to be held in Cancún, Mexico, has been moved to an online event due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. The event is still scheduled to proceed online from March 7-12, 2020. It is the first time ICANN will be holding a totally remote event. If it goes well, perhaps ICANN can save money by holding future events online.
I think this was a smart decision by ICANN because even if the chances of exposure are low, people would still have a great deal of concern, and ICANN certainly doesn’t want to become the epicenter of a new outbreak. Interestingly, ICANN also said it was evaluating upcoming meetings as well. With the possibility that the COVID-19 outbreak could continue to grow, it makes sense to consider making changes to other upcoming events.
BTW, sorry for the Corona pun – it was pretty much a layup because of the Mexico location. I sincerely hope you and your family are not impacted by the illness and wish those who are a swift recovery.
Here’s a copy of the full news release shared by ICANN:
ICANN to Hold First-Ever Remote Public Meeting
LOS ANGELES – 19 February 2020 – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) today announced that its ICANN67 Public Meeting, which was to be held in Cancún, Mexico, will now be held via remote participation-only. This decision was made as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, considered a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization.
The meeting, scheduled for 7-12 March 2020, marks the first time in ICANN’s history that it will hold a Public Meeting solely with remote participation.
Each ICANN Public Meeting attracts thousands of attendees from more than 150 countries. With cases in at least 26 of those countries, there is the potential of bringing the virus to Cancún and into the ICANN meeting site. If this were to happen, there could be accidental exposure of the virus to attendees, staff, and others who come in contact with an infected individual.
COVID-19 continues to be a rapidly evolving global situation, with new cases emerging daily.
“This is a decision that the ICANN Board has been considering since the outbreak was first announced and it is one that we haven’t taken lightly,” said Maarten Botterman, ICANN Board Chair. “We know that changing this meeting to remote participation-only will have an impact on and cause disruption to our community; however, this decision is about people. Protecting the health and safety of the ICANN community is our top priority.”
The community will have many questions about travel arrangements, scheduling, and other meeting-related issues. ICANN will consult with community leaders and groups to focus the virtual program on the most essential sessions, and will publish a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page to https://icann.org in the coming days.
ICANN thanks its regional partners in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) who had worked tirelessly to host this meeting in Cancún. We appreciate their understanding and we look forward to returning to the LAC region for ICANN70 in 2021.
Remote participation is an integral part of any ICANN Public Meeting, but it will be vastly expanded for ICANN67, and will leverage the robust technology platform in use by the community today.
ICANN will continue to make further announcements as circumstances warrant. In the meantime, ICANN org will hold a webinar to provide a short update and take questions. The webinar will be held on Thursday, 20 February at 1800 UTC.
ICANN also is reviewing upcoming meetings, such as the GDD Summit in Paris and the ICANN68 Meeting in Malaysia. So far, no decisions have been made and these are proceeding as planned. ICANN will keep the community informed of any changes.