Did ICANN pay for most meeting attendees to show up in The Hague?

ICANN may have lauded the return to in-person meetings for its gathering in The Hague in June, but there’s good reason to believe more than half of those who showed up may have bee there on ICANN’s dime.

ICANN 74, which was the first public meeting with a face-to-face component since the Covid-19 pandemic began in late 2019, attracted 917 in-person attendees, according to the Org’s latest By-The-Numbers report (pdf).

But more than a quarter of the badge-holders were on ICANN’s payroll, and as many as a third more could have had their flights, hotels and food reimbursed by ICANN.

The report shows that 28.7% of in-person attendees — 263 people — were either ICANN staff (14.9%), board of directors (1.7%), or event support staff (12.1%).

If ICANN’s travel support reimbursements track with previous meetings, as many as half of the remaining 651 attendees could also have had their trips fully or partially paid for by ICANN.

ICANN typically pays for around 300 non-staffers to attend its thrice-annual meetings, largely community volunteers in key roles on committees, advisory groups or working groups, who are expected to work for their money, as well as those on outreach programs such as Next-Gen.

Supported travelers for the June 2019 meeting in Marrakech, Morocco amounted to 326 people at a cost of about $820,000. For the Montreal AGM later that year, ICANN spent $1.1 million supporting 366 community travelers.

There’s reason to believe that the number of supported travelers could be lower due to the pandemic, of course, but it does seem quite realistic that more than half of the people who turned up for ICANN 74 did so with their hands in ICANN’s pocket.

That’s not counting the remote participants who asked ICANN to reimburse them for their extra internet access costs to Zoom in during the meeting.

According to the ICANN report, 32 people claimed up to $60 each for their broadband during ICANN 74. That was down a little on the prior meeting in March, but up on the number claiming reimbursements during the height of the pandemic.

ICANN also broke down the nations each in-person attendee hailed from, for I believe the first time, revealing Ghana as a surprisingly enthusiastic participant.

The Netherlands and US occupied the top two slots of the participants-by-country rankings, with 149 and 121 delegates, but Ghana was third with 43, ahead of the UK’s 41 and Germany’s 35.

The post Did ICANN pay for most meeting attendees to show up in The Hague? first appeared on Domain Incite.

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