ICANN is having a bit of a rough trot in the last couple of years having to postpone its meeting in Marrakech, Morocco, by 12 months due to Ebola virus fears and now relocating its second and third meetings for 2016.
It had already been announced that ICANN’s 56th global meeting would be relocated from Panama City, Panama, to Helsinki, Finland, due to concerns related to the Zika virus.
And now, writes Akram Atallah on the ICANN Blog, “following a great deal of internal debate and discussion, and taking into consideration the continued spread of Zika, we have decided that we will be relocating ICANN57 from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Hyderabad, India. Due to highly limited space availabilities, this relocation has necessitated changing the date of the meeting from 29 October – 4 November 2016, to 3 – 9 November 2016.”
The move is going to anger the Latin American domain name community who have already written to ICANN expressing their displeasure about the first move, saying:
“While there are precedents that justify the existence of alerts related to this virus, neither they have impeded the development of normal activities in the affected countries, nor have prevented LACTLD and other Internet organizations in the region to plan their activities in those countries.
“The Board of LACTLD, along with the concern expressed, points out that the cancellation of the meeting in Panama and any other meeting that could be suspended for the same reasons, affects directly a large number of people in the community who find in this meetings unique opportunities to join, in person, to discussions and debates on the Development of the ccTLD community, cybersecurity and technical matters among many others, all related with the Internet Development and their responsibilities in the construction of a unique and more reliable Internet.”
But ICANN’s concerns seem to be valid with the Puerto Rican Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla declaring a public health emergency because of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, according to a Reuters report in early February.
And later this month a pair of Major League Baseball games scheduled to be played in Puerto Rico will be relocated to Miami due to growing concerns among players over the Zika virus in the area, according to another Reuters report.
The decision wasn’t taken lightly though according to Atallah. He writes:
“We would much rather remain in Puerto Rico – the excellent location we had originally chosen. Moving the meeting venue creates a lot of additional work and challenges, and we understand and recognize that moving an ICANN meeting affects many groups within the community. However, we have come to the conclusion that we must postpone going to Puerto Rico after a lengthy discussion with and feedback from SO/AC leaders, the Board, and within our management team.”
So ICANN57 will be held at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre, a state-of-the-art convention centre capable of handling an ICANN meeting’s extensive conference space and network infrastructure requirements. Hyderabad itself is home to a booming tech sector, earning itself the nickname “Cyberabad”.