Earlier this week LACTLD put out a statement about ICANN meetings.
The statement, which is available in both Spanish and English, while very polite and diplomatic, expresses the organisation’s concerns with ICANN moving meetings out of Latin America due to health concerns.
So far this year the meeting scheduled for Panama (ICANN 56) has been relocated to Helsinki. ICANN 57 is currently scheduled to be held in San Juan, but there have been serious doubts raised as to whether it is viable for the organisation to hold a meeting there. While no firm decision has been taken by ICANN on the location of ICANN 57 there is a fairly strong chance that it will be relocated, possibly to Las Vegas, or another city outside the region.
From LACTLD’s perspective they don’t see why ICANN should relocate the meetings, stating that the threat of Zika hasn’t impacted activities in the region, while moving the meeting would impact participants from the region. They go on to note that disruption to the planned schedule of ICANN meetings will also have a negative impact on LACTLD’s planned events.
Whether you agree with them or not they do raise some interesting points around how ICANN decides to move a meeting (or not):
Hacemos nuestra también la preocupación por la salud y la seguridad de todos los participantes en los eventos programados en nuestra región, sin perjuicio de lo cual consideramos pertinente que ICANN reevalúe permanente de las condiciones que justifican una eventual suspensión futura de otros encuentros, como de la necesaria consulta a todos los potenciales afectados con dichas decisiones.
Paraphrasing the original, a little, they essentially state that they too consider the risks associated with holding events, but they expect ICANN to reassess the criteria for moving a meeting and that they should consult with all parties impacted by such decisions.
I was involved (to a degree) in the organisation and hosting of the ICANN meeting in Dublin last year and it is a big operation (just look at some of the logistics involved). What is causing headaches for a lot of people is a nasty combination of timing and politics. ICANN as an organisation wants to maintain its custom of rotating meetings across the various regions, but has had to move several meetings in the past due to a variety of health concerns and conflicts. The Marrakech meeting, for example, was postponed by a year. The meeting planned for Jordan (ICANN 41) was relocated to Singapore. Switching location isn’t a decision to be taken lightly, but if the longer they leave things without taking that decision the nastier the overall impact of changes will be on all parties concerned.