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Relocating ICANN57

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Earlier this year, we announced that ICANN56 was going to be relocated from Panama City, Panama, to Helsinki, Finland, due to concerns related to the Zika virus. Following a great deal of internal debate and discussion, and taking into consideration the continued spread of Zika, we have decided that we will be relocating ICANN57 from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Hyderabad, India. Due to highly limited space availabilities, this relocation has necessitated changing the date of the meeting from 29 October – 4 November 2016, to 3 – 9 November 2016.

We did not arrive at this decision easily. We would much rather remain in Puerto Rico – the excellent location we had originally chosen. Moving the meeting venue creates a lot of additional work and challenges, and we understand and recognize that moving an ICANN meeting affects many groups within the community. However, we have come to the conclusion that we must postpone going to Puerto Rico after a lengthy discussion with and feedback from SO/AC leaders, the Board, and within our management team. This decision was based on available research and information and the fact that Puerto Rico has declared a state of emergency due to the ongoing Zika virus outbreak. We believe that the Zika virus poses a significant enough threat that we need to postpone going to Puerto Rico for the health and safety of our community and our ICANN team, just as we had to postpone ICANN52 and relocate from Marrakech to Singapore due to the Ebola virus outbreak in 2014.

Choosing a location for an ICANN meeting that meets the needs of the community is an incredibly complex task. Few venues in the world are able to satisfy all of our requirements, especially as the community continues to grow and more and more sessions are held in parallel. San Juan offered outstanding facilities capable of hosting a successful ICANN meeting, which is why we originally selected it as the location for ICANN57. In choosing an alternate location for ICANN57, we explored options all around the globe. A North American venue would have been our preference given our meeting rotation schedule, but due to the time of the year, a very busy conference season and our extremely demanding requirements, we weren’t presented with any ideal options. Fortunately, the Government of India offered to host ICANN57. We are very grateful for their proposal and their willingness to meet our extensive requirements in such a short amount of time.

We are therefore pleased to announce that ICANN57 will be held at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre, a state-of-the-art convention center capable of handling an ICANN meeting’s extensive conference space and network infrastructure requirements. Hyderabad itself is home to a booming tech sector, earning itself the nickname “Cyberabad,” and we’re looking forward to hosting a successful ICANN meeting in this wonderful city.

We fully understand that by relocating ICANN57, regional organizations and stakeholders will miss out on an opportunity to meet with their communities, as well as a chance to reach out to new community members. We are postponing not cancelling this meeting and we will return to the region as soon as possible.

ICANN’s Global Stakeholder Engagement (GSE) team will be working closely with the leaders of the different stakeholder groups in the region to try to mitigate the impact of this decision. We will be providing our increased support to meetings and events scheduled in the region, remote hubs in the region’s strategic points during the next two ICANN meetings, read-out sessions, capacity building webinars, activities in our Montevideo engagement center, support for our community to attend relevant regional and global events, and providing as much senior management and Board support on the ground as required.

I want to stress again that the decision to relocate ICANN57 was not made lightly, and that we feel it is extremely unfortunate the situation required us to postpone the meeting in San Juan. We understand how important it is to maintain the global rotation of ICANN meetings, as it allows local and regional communities to attend and participate, and we are committed to returning to Puerto Rico and Panama City as soon as possible, however the welfare of community members and staff is our top priority.

We thank you all for understanding this difficult situation and the choice we have had to make.

Comments

    James Lynn  14:06 UTC on 17 May 2016

    There's no zika outbreak in Puerto Rico

    Ayden Férdeline  14:09 UTC on 17 May 2016

    I appreciate that this was a very difficult decision for ICANN to make, but I do find the new dates to be problematic. For the meeting to begin on a Thursday and to end on a Wednesday makes it a two week commitment for me to be able to travel to and participate in the meeting. For those of us whose participation in ICANN activities is unpaid, this is very difficult. I also am disappointed that we no longer have balanced global coverage in terms of the meeting locations. This is the second meeting in a row where the Board-adopted geographic regions framework has been disregarded. Again, I am not proportioning blame here and fully appreciate that it was necessary to move the meeting. But moving forward I would encourage ICANN to work with the community to develop clearer guidelines around what circumstances justify the relocation of a meeting, and to reflect on how the meeting rotation calendar can be updated to ensure regional parity in meeting allocations. I hope you find these suggestions useful. Thank you.

    Alfredo Calderon  17:08 UTC on 17 May 2016

    Who declared a State of Emergency due to Zika in Puerto Rico? I live in Puerto Rico and still do not know of someone in my vecinity, my neigborhood or workplace with Zika.

    Alfredo Calderon  17:12 UTC on 17 May 2016

    Do you know that we have elections in Puerto Rico and the United States during those dates?

    Adeel Sadiq  20:42 UTC on 17 May 2016

    I cannot take 2 weeks off. The conference must start on Sunday like it used to. And I have contacted the people I know in Puerto Rico, there is NO Zika outbreak!

    Carlton Samuels  20:02 UTC on 18 May 2016

    If the "State of Emergency" is being used as the principal reason then that is, well, um, a wee bit overwrought. The Board should know - indeed ought to have known - that Puerto Rico's declaration was merely a requirement for the process to access federal funding to fight the virus! This is a woeful misreading of the politics. Here's the other thing. Given the viral signatures already identified in the Lower 48, it is highly likely someone from this side would bring the virus to Puerto Rico.....and India, for that matter! Haven't heard of anyone avoiding Florida for cause......

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