[governance] IGF 2020 to be held in Poland

Mawaki Chango (via governance Mailing List) governance at lists.riseup.net
Wed Jun 5 17:09:07 EDT 2019

Hi Michael, all:

What are the solutions to this? I feel there's still room for the convening
entity to do more with the host country in order to facilitate visa
issuance (and this does not apply only to Schengen but to any country for
which it might be challenging to get a visa from the peripheries of the
world.) As the saying goes about images, I'd say a story is worth a
thousand arguments. So here you go.

ICANN meeting, Panama City. Panama has only up to 3 ambassies in the whole
of Africa which, you might remember, is as large as several other
continents put together: those are at the southern end (South Africa) and
the northern end (Egypt and possibly Morocco, if my memory is correct) of
the continent. Those 3 countries are far away for someone living in the
middle part of the continent -- I'd say about 5 hour flight average from
Lome for instance. And the visa application takes generally a week to be
processed and that waiting time away from one's home country would have to
a substantial cost. With such configuration, one might as well head to a
Schengen capital where it's easier both to have access to a Panama
consulate for the visa and to proceed with a direct flight to Panama City
in this case. The two scenari are sub-optimal, to say the least, although
the latter seems the least costly.

So I tried to see whether ICANN could help in any way. I was a bit shocked
to discover that ICANN made arrangements with the host country to grant
visa on arrival only for their staff; nobody else could benefit from that.
I tried to argue with the management that ICANN is a community-based
organization and that they should very much care about facilitating
participation from the community (people, stakeholders, etc.) not just the
staff. But there was nothing I could say to make them change, of course;
they already had an agreement with the host country.

Finally what happened is I got in touch with the Panama's consul in Paris
and he was nice enough to commit to issuing my visa the same day should I
have all the documents required. I had already an appointment with the
consulate of France, which you get after paying a fee (that procedure was
the first thing I did by reflex as soon as I knew I was going to be invited
to the Panama meeting and that country has no consulate anywhere near.)
Yet, the earliest available slot fell after the ICANN meeting dates. In
such cases the prospective applicant is invited to call in every other day
to find out whether a slot has been surrendered in the mean time. In sum,
it went some way like this: I got informed on a Friday that there was a
newly available slot on Monday. The latest I could catch the flight to
Paris would be on Thursday that week (for a chance to be at the Panama
consulate in Paris on Friday, and then catch the flight from Paris to
Panama city on Saturday, etc.) When I dropped the first visa application on
Monday, I explained to them the time constraints (again, it requires
normally one full week to process these visa applications.) They said they
will try but they can't promise, because they need clearance from their
central administration after security screening, etc. Facing such uncertain
prospects, the sponsor decided to cancel flights and hotel reservations
before they lose all their money with possibly a late cancelation. Thursday
came, I got the first visa that opens the doors for the rest, but I
couldn't go anywhere because all the subsequent travel and accommodation
arrangements were canceled, as the schedule was too tight while the outcome
was uncertain up to the last minute.

The whole process took so much time and energy (which on top of that prove
to be useless) that when I received the invitation letter to the next ICANN
meeting, I didn't even give it a thought; I declined.

Countries or nations-states have their sovereignty and no one can demand
they change, wholesale, their policies or their bureaucratic culture (for
instance, issuing a visa to cover only the specific dates of a meeting
despite a heavy procedure and the likelihood of repeats within a single
year vs. being opened to granting long term visas depending on the
precedents or profile of the applicant.) But UNDESA/IGF, ICANN, etc. should
assign themselves the goal of getting from the chanceries of the host
countries the maximum visa facilitating measures possible for ALL
prospective participants in their meetings - from visa on arrival to
setting up a fast track in the consulates for visa interview appointments
and application processing (maybe the latter is a new idea? In any case, it
just occurred to me.) Certainly, just issuing an invitation letter and a
proof of registration to the meeting is not enough.


On Wed, Jun 5, 2019, 09:35 "Michael J. Oghia" <governance at lists.riseup.net>

> Hi Mawaki, all:
> No need to apologise or call it a rant. It's a very fair point, and I
> appreciate your articulation. As someone who lives in Europe and
> undoubtedly benefits from having the IGF hosted on the continent, I am also
> frustrated that – assuming it's already been decided – the IGF would be
> held yet again in Europe.
> I know that the country where it's held mainly rests on which government
> is willing to host it, so I do understand if the options are limited.
> What are the solutions to this?
> Best,
> -Michael
> On Wed, Jun 5, 2019 at 11:26 AM Mawaki Chango <governance at lists.riseup.net>
> wrote:
>> Good point, Abdeldjalil. Geneva, Paris, Berlin and now Poland
>> (Varsovie/Warsaw, I guess?) That's four.
>> The Schengen visa is such a hassle for so many people, and so time
>> consuming! I'm not even talking about getting all the paperwork in order.
>> One has to secure the interview appointment months and months in advance
>> and that alone is sometimes enough to cause failure.
>> And when you manage to get the visa, it only lasts the exact number of
>> days planned for your meeting (or whatever the purpose of the visit.) And
>> even if one knows there's another meeting (say, ICANN) coming up in the
>> next few months still in the Schengen space which one needs to attend, one
>> has to go through all of it again. They won't consider that even if the
>> visa paperwork for the next meeting is ready. Certainly not if the two
>> consecutive meetings are happening in two different Schengen countries,
>> although any Schengen country visa applies to the whole of Schengen space.
>> I'm not even sure they accept to issue an extended visa in the case the two
>> meetings were to happen in the same country three or four months apart. The
>> bureaucracy of sovereignty !
>> Okay, I guess that was my mid-week rant. Otherwise, I'm looking forward
>> to seeing and enjoying Berlin and hopefully Warsaw.
>> Mawaki
>> On Wed, Jun 5, 2019, 08:29 Abdeldjalil Bachar Bong <bachar at igf.td> wrote:
>>> Thanks Arsene for sharing.
>>> Congratulation for that innovation :knowing the date early .
>>> After 3 round I'm Europe we hope that after Poland will be in AFRICA .
>>> -------------------------------
>>> Cordialement
>>> ----------------------------------
>>> E-mail: bachar at houseof.africa
>>> WEBSITE : www.houseof.africa
>>> Whatsapp: +23566274284
>>> Skype: Bongbour
>>> -------------------------------------
>>> Le Secrétaire Exécutif/Executive Secretary
>>> Forum sur la Gouvernance de l'Internet au Tchad (FGI Tchad) /
>>> Chad Internet Governance Forum
>>> -------------------------------------
>>> E-mail: Bachar at igf.td
>>> Website: www.igf.td
>>> Twitter :@IGFCHAD
>>> https://twitter.com/bacharbong
>>> Tél:0023566274284
>>> N'djaména(Tchad)
>>> ---------------------------------------------
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