ICANN Thursday confirmed what everyone expected, and had been listed on their meetings page, that March’s ICANN70 will be held as a Virtual Public Meeting due to the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This meeting was initially planned to be held in Cancún, Mexico. In consultation with community leaders, the ICANN70 Virtual Community Forum dates have been modified and the meeting is now scheduled to be held from 22 to 25 March 2021. Registration is now open.
The decision was made by ICANN’s Board of Directors at a Special Meeting of the ICANN Board. With the global COVID-19 pandemic still creating havoc around the world, ICANN said as the health and safety of the ICANN community is always a top priority, holding ICANN70 as an in-person meeting would not be feasible on its scheduled date. Along with its resolution, the Board detailed its rationale. A number of challenges to in-person meetings still remain, including uncertainties around the ability and willingness of participants to travel, whether physical distancing requirements are possible to implement, the impact of a potential case among participants, and the progress of the second wave of the virus across the world.
According to the ICANN statement, the Board fully appreciates the importance of face-to-face interaction and looks forward to a return to in-person ICANN Public Meetings as soon as is practical. The Board has directed ICANN org to work in coordination with the ICANN community to meet the expected outcomes of an ICANN Community Forum and support the community’s ongoing priorities, policy advice, and development work in a virtual format.
ICANN70 will be the fourth ICANN Virtual Public Meeting since the pandemic began. ICANN org began a community engagement process in September 2020 to consider lessons learned from previous virtual meetings and how those learnings can impact future ICANN Public Meetings. ICANN org will implement several community suggestions to enhance the virtual experience for ICANN70.
For more information, visit the ICANN Meetings website.