ICANN scraps in-person conference planned for March ’22 in Puerto Rico
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced that it will no longer hold its in-person ICANN73 convention in Puerto Rico on Mar. 5-10, 2022, going virtual instead, citing “continuing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The ICANN Board of Directors — which first announced plans to come to the island in 2019 — based its decision on Puerto Rico’s “high level” rating of COVID-19 transmission risk, which has prevented the organization from traveling to the island “to perform its necessary advance planning.”
“While there has been progress that might make it feasible to plan for and convene a meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico in March 2022, the current risks and uncertainties remain too high to proceed with an in-person meeting or with an in-person component,” the organization stated.
“This uncertainty also prevents ICANN org and the community from conducting the pre-planning activities necessary to hold an in-person meeting, and it prohibits any travel to conduct on-site technical and logistics planning that must begin months before the actual event,” it noted.
The in-person event that was to take place at the Puerto Rico Convention Center, and was expected to draw about 2,100 people and generate between $8 million and $10 million for the economy, Pablo Rodríguez, vice chairman of the Country Code Names Supporting Organization council for Puerto Rico in ICANN, and local spokesman for the entity, told News is my Business in August.
“Many other challenges and uncertainties factored into the Board’s decision, such as the ability and willingness of participants to travel internationally and to be allowed to enter the United States; the advanced planning necessary to produce a successful meeting; the ability to complete the necessary health and safety protocols in time; and the current dialogue between the community and org to create a meaningful hybrid design that would meet the needs of those unable to attend in person,” ICANN further stated.
The ICANN73 Virtual Community Forum’s exact dates may change after the entity consults with its leadership, it noted. It plans to move forward with the ICANN74 Policy Forum in June 2022 in The Hague, Netherlands, with in-person and virtual participation.