ICANN67 Virtual Community Forum FAQ
Updated as of 5 March 2020
Due to the global outbreak of COVID-19, the ICANN67 Community Forum scheduled for 7-12 March in Cancún, Mexico, will now be a virtual meeting with attendees participating remotely. We recognize the community has many questions about the new meeting schedule, travel arrangements, and other issues. This document will be updated as new information becomes available.
Why did ICANN change the location and format of the meeting?
ICANN's primary concern is the health and safety of its global multistakeholder community. The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern. The outbreak is a rapidly changing situation with new cases announced daily. Much is still unknown about the disease and how it is spreading.
The decision to move to a remote meeting was based solely on protecting the health and safety of the several thousand community and staff members who would be traveling to Cancún as well as that of the local host community. To make this decision, the ICANN Board received professional advice from our internal crisis management team and external experts, and assessed the situation based on information provided by health authorities such as the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control, among others.
Each ICANN meeting brings thousands of participants from more than 150 countries to the host country. ICANN is sensitive to the risks of bringing people from areas that have been affected by the virus to Cancún, which has not seen any active cases yet. We want to avoid any accidental exposure that could occur from a participant who was unaware they were carrying the virus. If that were to occur, other participants would be unintentionally exposed, and at risk of bringing the virus back to their home countries.
We are very grateful to our partners in Mexico for their support. This was a very difficult decision for the ICANN Board. Our hosts are disappointed, as are we, but they understand the decision. The ICANN community is looking forward to the ICANN70 Community Forum in Cancún in 2021.
Why can't you move the location or date of the meeting?
Each ICANN Public Meeting attracts thousands of attendees from more than 150 countries. With existing cases in at least 26 of those countries, the Board made the decision to conduct a remote-only meeting out of concern over 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.
Moving the location or date would not guarantee the health and safety of our community or the residents of any new host country. Further, the planning and contracting process for any location begins months in advance; even if there was an option to move to a new location, proper planning could not have been accomplished in time.
In light of the expanding outbreak, ICANN org has implemented new temporary travel guidance that will impact participation in events in the Internet governance ecosystem. Please read more about the latest guidance here.
ICANN is not the only organization facing these difficult choices. The outbreak has also led to the cancellation of more than two dozen international meetings including:
- Mobile World Congress (Barcelona, Spain)
- Facebook Global Marketing Meeting (San Francisco, California)
- Cisco Live Meeting (Melbourne, Australia)
- International Trademark Association (Singapore)
Why didn't you cancel the meeting?
- ICANN Public Meetings are integral to the work of the ICANN community and provide an opportunity for our community to come together. Despite the current situation, we believe it is important to provide the opportunity for this important work to continue. Additionally, the community conducts remote participation calls on a near-daily basis, and they are familiar with the technology.
When will you make a decision on the upcoming events, such as the GDD Industry Summit in Paris, the Middle East DNS Forum (MEDNSF) in Riyadh, and ICANN68 in Kuala Lumpur?
We are focused on making ICANN67 as productive as possible in the new format at the moment, and will turn our full attention to future events as soon as ICANN67 concludes. We will continue to review and monitor the guidance of health authorities as we reassess future events. We will keep the organization and the community updated as soon as we have more information on the other events.
Will all of the ICANN67 sessions be held virtually?
The Policy Development Support and Meeting teams have worked with the community to revise the schedule. The modified schedule has been posted to the ICANN67 Meeting site. All of the sessions in the revised schedule will be held virtually.
Who should I contact if I want to give my input into what sessions should continue in the remote meeting?
- Please contact your community leadership to make sure your thoughts are represented.
What remote participation tools will you use?
Remote participation is already an integral part of any ICANN Public Meeting using the Zoom platform. It will be expanded for ICANN67 to ensure that stakeholders are able to participate in the meeting seamlessly and continue working on the important projects they expected to discuss during the meeting.
Please go to our Remote Participation page on the meetings site to familiarize yourself with the tools.
Can ICANN pay for my Internet costs to join ICANN67 remotely?
- Consistent with ICANN's position as it relates to those participating in ICANN community work, ICANN org does not compensate for Internet access costs. There is no change to this due to hosting ICANN67 as a virtual meeting.
Will ICANN support regional hubs for participants to join the virtual meeting?
ICANN is not able to provide the administrative support that would be required at our regional offices or other locations for community members to participate in ICANN67 sessions at a physical location.
However, ICANN67 being held as a virtual meeting will not affect our ongoing program of regional readouts. Community members will be alerted when the ICANN67 readout in your region is scheduled.
What time zone will be used for the virtual meeting?
ICANN understands that our community comprises participants from all over the world. Due to the logistics involved in supporting a wholly virtual meeting at this stage, ICANN will be offering Meetings & Technical Services as well as Language Services support from 0900 – 1700 Cancún time (UTC-5) between 7-12 March (e.g. the originally-scheduled dates of the Cancún meeting).
Sessions that are scheduled outside these dates and times will be supported by the relevant ICANN org staff teams supporting the groups holding these sessions (e.g. Policy Development Support, Multistakeholder Strategy & Strategic Initiatives, etc.). Please refer to the updated meeting schedule when that is available for additional information.
How will you address the time zone challenges?
We have tried to develop the most productive, yet logistically feasible, schedule in consideration of the fact that the ICANN community is located around the globe. All documents, materials presented, recordings, and transcripts of the proceedings will be made available for each of the public sessions so that the community can follow the discussion and topics of interest.
In addition, pre-ICANN67 webinars and documents were conducted and distributed, so that the community is kept informed of current issues and the status of policy advice and development activities. To access the recordings and transcripts of these webinars as well as obtain copies of the briefing materials, please refer to:
Regional readouts will also be held following the conclusion of the meeting to allow participants to hear about and discuss topics of interest arising from the meeting.
Will the sessions have interpretation support?
Interpretation will be offered in French and Spanish. For details about ICANN67 Language Services, please see this blog.
If I'm an ICANN-supported traveler, will you still pay per diems or stipends if I'm participating in ICANN67 remotely?
- Per diems and stipends are not provided for remote participation.
Why do I still need to register for ICANN67?
- We recommend anyone interested in participating in ICANN67 to register here to receive timely updates, the revised schedule, and daily newsletters.
Will I receive a certificate of proof for participating remotely?
- Participants may use the virtual confirmation email as confirmation. If you have not registered, please register here. ICANN is not able to provide any certificates that document whether an attendee participated in any individual sessions.
If I am an ICANN-supported traveler and booked my flight and hotel through FCM, is the flight transferable or refundable?
- AIR: If you have already booked your travel with ICANN's travel agency FCM, ICANN will cancel your air travel bookings. No action from you is required.
- HOTEL: If ICANN is providing you funds for a hotel, ICANN will cancel your hotel reservation. No action from you is required.
- PER DIEMS/STIPENDS: No per diems or stipends are provided for remote participation. No action from you is required.
- VISA COSTS and OTHER REIMBURSEMENTS: If you incurred any visa costs and other ICANN-approved reimbursements, despite the change from a face-to-face to a virtual meeting, ICANN will reimburse the costs actually incurred. Please submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org for reimbursement with proper documentation.
If I booked my own travel to ICANN67 as a general attendee, will ICANN reimburse my travel?
- ICANN org cannot compensate you for any losses you may incur. The participation at an ICANN meeting is open, voluntary, and the result of a free choice by each individual who decides to participate. We understand the inconvenience resulting from this change of modalities of ICANN 67.
If I am an ICANN-supported traveler, can I keep my flight and hotel booking instead of ICANN cancelling my hotel and flight?
- All flights and hotel rooms booked through ICANN's systems will be cancelled. As a result of the decision to cancel the face-to-face meeting in Cancún, all previously booked travel to Cancún is now considered personal travel and is not appropriate for booking through ICANN. While some registered participants may individually decide to travel to Cancún nonetheless, it is a personal decision that is independent from ICANN and one which ICANN cannot financially support.
If I am an ICANN-supported traveler, can I keep my flight and hotel booking and pay ICANN for the cost incurred?
- While some registered participants may decide to travel to Cancún in their personal capacity, they do so independent of ICANN. ICANN cannot provide the tailored service of processing such requests at this time.
I booked a vacation or additional travel around ICANN67 in Cancún. Will I be compensated for my expenses?
- ICANN org cannot compensate for nonrefundable fees incurred by participants in their personal capacity. We understand the inconvenience resulting from the change of modalities of ICANN67.
Will ICANN be able to assist me if the ICANN-approved hotel is unable to refund my deposit due to their cancellation policy?
- ICANN org cannot compensate self-funded travelers for losses incurred due to cancellations. We encourage participants to review cancellation agreements with the respective vendors. We have received reports of participants who have been able to cancel hotel reservations and be refunded, or without application of fees.
Can ICANN contact the airlines for me?
- ICANN will manage the cancellation of flights it booked through FCM.
- For all other travel, your local airline or travel agent is better situated to assist you directly because different rules and laws govern each country.
Will the people selected as ICANN Fellows or NextGen@ICANN still participate in those programs at a virtual ICANN67?
- We encourage all to participate in ICANN67. Both programs as well as other resources available for ICANN newcomers will be adapted for the virtual format. Fellows and NextGenners will receive more detail soon, but in the interim:
- ICANN org will host a modified What to Expect at ICANN67 webinar in the place of Newcomer Day.
- We are working to revise program-specific interactive sessions. More details will be available soon.
- We encourage participants to leverage the ICANN Learn platform for detailed, interactive courses.
- ICANN Fellowship Program:
- All ICANN67 slots will be deferred to ICANN69 in Hamburg, Germany. The ICANN67 selection and any attendance at the virtual sessions will not count against the program participation limits.
- Participation in some of the ICANN67 remote sessions is required for those who wish to defer to ICANN69.
- NextGen@ICANN Program:
- All ICANN67 sessions will be deferred to ICANN70 in Cancun, Mexico, in 2021. The ICANN67 selection and any attendance at the virtual sessions will not count against the program participation limits.
- NextGenners will need to participate in the What to Expect webinar and a technology-focused webinar.
- Leadership Program:
- Due to the unique team-building focus of this workshop which relies heavily on face-to-face participation, this program will be cancelled for ICANN67.
Whom should I contact if my question has not been answered here?