By Nick Tomasso
5 March 2010
Late Wednesday, my meetings team here in Nairobi was hit with some unexpected and troubling news by the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC), the venue for the ICANN meeting. Unfortunately, it is news that could severely impact our community as it attends the meeting here on Monday and Tuesday.
Officials at the KICC informed us for the first time Wednesday, that the InterGovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) will be conducting a major meeting in the KICC on Monday and Tuesday (March 8 & 9) at the same time the 37th ICANN meeting kicks off.
The IGAD is made up of six member nations; Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda. The group shares the common admirable goal of trying to improve general economic conditions in East Africa.
KICC informed us that IGAD Ministers will begin meeting at the KICC on Monday. We are told that with their staffs and security personnel, there will be about 200 people in attendance, and while that is a concern to us in terms of how the ministers and their security teams will impact our meeting, our far greater concern is how the IGAD gathering will affect our meeting on Tuesday.
On March 9, we are told that the heads of state of all the IGAD member nations will be at the KICC from 09:00 to 17:00, along with their respective entourages and full security details, which will be substantial.
With that many national leaders and scores of security personnel arriving at our meeting venue at one time, we expect it to cause severe inconveniences and at times possibly major disruptions for our community members as they attempt to enter and move around the KICC.
While I registered my displeasure that the KICC decided to host the IGAD conference at the same time as ours and asked that they consider moving it to another location, it was readily apparent that no change would be made.
The ICANN meetings team is currently working round the clock with the KICC, our hosts, and the Kenyan government to see what we can do to minimize the impact on our community members. In the meantime, in accordance with our philosophy of full transparency, we wanted to let you know about these potential problems as soon as possible.
We will keep you advised of any room changes or possible modifications to the schedule as we continue to seek solutions or workarounds to this problem.
General Manager, Meetings and Conferences