The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has announced that the ICANN69 Annual General Meeting (AGM), which was to be held in Hamburg, Germany, will not proceed as an in-person meeting. Instead, the ICANN Board has directed the ICANN org to coordinate with the ICANN community on the best way forward for ICANN69 to meet the expected outcomes of an ICANN AGM and support the community’s ongoing policy advice and development work, despite being unable to meet in person.
The meeting, scheduled for 17th to 22nd October 2020, will be the third time ICANN will hold a Virtual Public Meeting as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. ICANN67, originally scheduled for Cancún, Mexico, was held as a virtual meeting, as will the upcoming ICANN68, originally scheduled for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The health and safety of the ICANN community is always a top priority, and as such, convening ICANN69 as an in-person meeting is not expected to be feasible by its scheduled date. While progress has been made to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, there are still several barriers remaining that prevent holding large international meetings, such as ICANN’s Public Meetings. These include ongoing restrictions on international travel, diminished flight availability, challenges in obtaining visas, physical distancing requirements, the risks posed to the local host community, and the possibility of a resurgence resulting in further lockdowns.
The ICANN Board appreciates the importance of face-to-face interactions and looks forward to a return to in-person ICANN Public Meetings. ICANN is currently scheduled to convene ICANN70 in Cancun, Mexico, and ICANN71 in The Hague, The Netherlands.
ICANN org, in consultation with the ICANN community, will build on the lessons learned during ICANN67 and ICANN68 to improve upon the meeting format. In its decision, the Board directed the ICANN org to work with the community leaders to determine how to ensure that the virtual meeting fulfils the community’s agreed-upon priorities.
Those interested in attending ICANN69 will still be required to register. An announcement will be posted to https://icann.org once registration is open. To learn more about remote participation, visit ICANN Public Meetings.