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In pictures: from tuk-tuks to cheese wheels, every ICANN national stereotype 2016-2022

Kevin Murphy, August 2, 2022, Gossip

What’s the one thing that ICANN most associates with your country?

For the The Netherlands, it seems to be cheese. For Puerto Rico, rum. For Morocco, um… camels.

ICANN ships about 12 metric tons (10 tonnes) of gear to its meeting locations three times a year, and a few weeks after the meeting concludes it issues a “By The Numbers” report, containing a treasure trove of data about the meeting.

The reports include data on how much equipment — servers, routers, mics, headsets etc — was shipped, along with a lighthearted “that’s the equivalent of” comparison.

It started in 2016 with elephants and cars, but from round about the third report, the ICANN 57 meeting in Hyderabad, India, ICANN started picking a comparison with a local connection.

I thought it might be fun to collect all these images in one place for easy reference.

ICANN 55, Marrakech, Morocco

3.5 African elephants. I’m not convinced this one was connected to the host. Probably just representative of “a heavy thing”.


ICANN 56, Helsinki, Finland

12.2 mid-sized cars. Again, this might just be “a heavy thing”. Finland isn’t really known for its cars. Maybe ICANN thought it was in Sweden.


ICANN 57, Hyderabad, India

77 tuk-tuks. This cheap form of private-hire transport is as ubiquitous in India as it is in many parts of Asia.


ICANN 58, Copenhagen, Denmark

1,365 bicycles. Copenhagen is reportedly one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world. I recall walking pretty much the full distance from the airport to the venue along a cycle path when I arrived for ICANN 58.


ICANN 59, Johannesburg, South Africa

8 giraffes. South Africa is known for its tourist safaris.


ICANN 60, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

6,517 falcons. Falconry is a popular pass-time and tourist attraction in the UAE.


ICANN 61, San Jose, Puerto Rico

34 barrels of rum. I had to google this one to be honest, but it turns out the Puerto Rico government calls the US territory the “Rum Capital of the World”. It even has a .gov web site to promote the product.


ICANN 62, Panama City, Panama

145 sacks of coffee beans. Panama isn’t exactly internationally renowned for its coffee exports, but I guess it’s difficult to weigh stuff in terms of canals.


ICANN 63, Barcelona, Spain

6,849 Spanish guitars. It has the word “Spanish” in it, do you see?


ICANN 64, Kobe, Japan

17 cows. Kobe is known for its beef, if you’re into that kind of thing.


ICANN 65, Marrakech, Morocco

23 camels.


ICANN 66, Montreal, Canada

38 barrels of maple syrup. A gimme… the leaf is right there on the flag.


ICANN 74, The Hague, Netherlands

1,191 cheese wheels. Who doesn’t love a bit of Dutch cheese?


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

Kevin Murphy, August 2, 2022, Domain Policy

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 been 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.