Today, the Board of Directors for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced that ICANN71 will be held as a Virtual Public Meeting due to the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ICANN71 Policy Forum was scheduled to be held in The Hague, Netherlands, from 14-17 June 2021. The meeting dates will remain the same. Read the Board resolution and supporting rationale here.
Several barriers remain to holding and appropriately planning in-person international meetings. These include ongoing restrictions on international travel, limited flight availability, physical distancing requirements, risks posed to the local host community, and the possibility of a resurgence resulting in further lockdowns.
This action was taken in consideration of the ongoing consultation with the community and ICANN organization (org) to refine support for the key policy development efforts the community undertakes at ICANN Public Meetings. The Board looks forward to receiving the final outputs from that consultation as soon as is feasible, to allow for their application as early as the planning for ICANN71.
"Above all, the health and safety of the ICANN community, Board, and staff are the most important considerations for our Public Meetings," said Maarten Botterman, ICANN Board Chair. "As of now, there are still too many uncertainties involved with hosting a face-to-face meeting – even in The Hague, the city where I was born and would have loved to see you all. The Board believes that this is the right decision, and it gives us ample time to plan a successful Virtual Public Meeting."
ICANN org is grateful for the support and input from our Dutch and European regional partners during the planning process for ICANN71, and the org hopes to return to the region soon.
Registration will be required to participate in ICANN71, with registration opening in late March. Read more about virtual participation tools at the ICANN Public Meetings page.
Supporting ICANN Public Meetings
The community engagement process about the evolution of ICANN Public Meetings continues. The Board is grateful for the ongoing collaboration between the leadership of ICANN's Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees and ICANN org to consider how to best support the community's important policy, technical, and implementation work. The Board agrees that establishing community guidelines for Public Meeting planning will bolster continuity, transparency, and accountability for the decisions made on the community's behalf by the designated representatives that work with ICANN org planning both virtual and in-person Public Meetings.
As a result of this ongoing dialogue, some of the community's immediate suggestions have been implemented for ICANN70. The Board hopes the guidelines will be available to facilitate further enhancements for ICANN71. In the interim, the Board has directed ICANN org to work with the community leaders to determine how to ensure that org support for ICANN Public Meetings continue to meet the community's agreed-upon priorities and needs.