[governance] IGF 2020 to be held in Poland

Mawaki Chango (via governance Mailing List) governance at lists.riseup.net
Thu Jun 6 03:38:36 EDT 2019

Michael, that's okay :)
My story in this instance was just offered as a testimony echoing the
experience of many others. But please don't let that eclipse my last
paragraph in that message, which specifically address the question : What
can be done? I hope anyone here who may be concerned take note. The country
chosen for the venue and the level of measures the convening organization
is willing to secure in order to facilitate access to that country/venue
for all members of the community should be taken seriously as indicative of
the openness and inclusiveness of that organization regarding the community
engagement with its very subject matter and in its processes. In my view
ICANN failed on that in this (and probably not the only) instance.
IGF/UNDESA, too, have more work to do.

Thank you all for your attention. Now, I am ready to get back to discussing
Internet governance in substance.


On Thu, Jun 6, 2019, 07:03 Michael J. Oghia <mike.oghia at gmail.com> wrote:

> Wow Mawaki, thank you for sharing this. I'm sorry you had to deal with all
> that. You make good points, though. Forgive the brevity of this reply in
> light of your own, but I just don't have much more to say.
> Best,
> -Michael
> On Wed, Jun 5, 2019 at 11:09 PM Mawaki Chango <kichango at gmail.com> wrote:
>> 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.
>> Best,
>> Mawaki
>> On Wed, Jun 5, 2019, 09:35 "Michael J. Oghia" <
>> governance at lists.riseup.net> wrote:
>>> 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)
>>>>> ---------------------------------------------
>>>>> DELEGATE - CHAD 2016-2018|ICANN60 Fellow ||Youth Peacebuilder|||
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