ICANN organization (org) has extended its current ban on travel and face-to-face meetings to at least 31 August 2021 due to the continuing impacts of the pandemic. The evolving trajectory of the virus, including the emergence and spread of new variants and the inequality of vaccine access across the world, as well as the rapidly changing travel landscape and ability to secure visas represent unpredictable risks at the moment.
On 15 July 2021, the Board announced its decision to hold ICANN72 as a Virtual Annual Meeting and affirmed its intent to hold ICANN73 as a hybrid meeting with an in-person component if feasible to do so. The Board also encouraged ICANN org, in coordination with the ICANN community, to initiate a pilot program to start hosting smaller in-person or hybrid community meetings before the end of 2021. The resolution can be found here.
A dedicated team is conducting thorough risk assessments and developing comprehensive travel processes and procedures necessary to ensure the health and safety of the community and staff. We are working with several travel, security, and safety experts around the world and closely following guidance from the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In our assessment, we're considering a broad spectrum of risk factors, such as COVID-19 infection rates, vaccination status and availability, community and staff comfort levels, flight and route availability, local government quarantine requirements, venue health and safety requirements, and much more. The essential resources the ICANN org team is building will empower the org to assess, approve, and support the safe and efficient resumption of normal operations when possible.
Thank you for your flexibility and continued engagement with our important work. I look forward to connecting with you virtually in August, and in person when it is safe to do so.