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Meeting planning

Information about how we plan where and when to hold our meetings, the community requirements that we aim to fulfill in venue selection, and policies regarding meeting planning.

IETF meetings are held three times a year rotating through the three IETF meeting regions of North America, Europe, and Asia in accordance with the policy set in RFC 8719. Any city in one of those regions can be considered as a meeting location. The dates and regions for the meetings are set several years in advance and aim to avoid clashing with other meetings as noted in the IETF Meeting Clash List.  For meetings outside of those regions, see Exploratory Meetings below.

Venue identification and selection process

The selection of the meeting venue is made by the IETF Administration LLC (IETF LLC), who ensure that the detailed requirements of RFC 8718 are met and that community feedback is considered.

Step 1 - Recommendation

The first step in the selection process is an initial recommendation of a city and/or a specific venue in that city.  Mostly, the IETF LLC solicits recommendations from Global Hosts and self-recommends countries and cities within the three regions that it thinks may be suitable.

The IETF also accepts direct recommendations.  If the city is within one of the three IETF regions (North America, Asia, Europe) you can make a recommendation in one of two ways:

Step 2 - Initial Assessment

Once a recommendation has been accepted, the IETF LLC carries out an initial assessment by remotely researching the city and any potential venues in that city. This assessment is recorded in an IETF Venue Assessment Report (template) with a preliminary report from the IETF Executive Director issued for community feedback.

Step 3 - Community Feedback

The IETF LLC then seeks community feedback on the preliminary IETF Venue Assessment Report, which is assessed and published in a public repository.  Depending on the feedback received, the IETF LLC may conduct further remote research and possibly change the assessment. The report is then updated to incorporate the community feedback and issued with a recommendation to approve or reject the city as a potential venue. If the recommendation is to reject a city as a potential venue then it does not progress any further.

The Meeting Location Assessment table is then updated to note the final recommendation.

This community feedback may raise concerns that a meeting in this city will not meet the core objective in RFC 8718 of “Why we meet”.  If this is the case, then it does not affect the recommendation, but any city that is approved as a potential venue will be passed to the IESG for their decision as set out below in step 4b.

Step 4 - Final Assessments

This step has two parts, 4a and 4b. 4b only applies in certain circumstances and when it does apply it is carried out roughly in parallel with 4a. 

Step 4a - Detailed Assessment

When the final recommendation after community feedback is to approve the city as a potential venue,  we carry out the detailed assessment, which may take some years to complete.  This includes the following steps:

  • Site visits to specific venues undertaken by the meetings team and NOC members to assess the facilities and the network.
  • Detailed cost discussions with venues.
  • Initial discussions with secondary hotels.
  • Discussions with any local tourism or convention bureau on possible support packages.

The IETF LLC may choose not to follow up with a specific city at this stage for a number of reasons, such as all the venues are too expensive or unable to meet the network requirements or not available for the required dates. Depending on the reason for not following up the Meeting Location Assessment table may be updated to show that or it may continue to show this as a potential location.

Step 4b - IESG Assessment on Meeting Viability

If the community feedback has raised concerns that a meeting in this city will not meet the core objective in RFC 8718 of “Why we meet” then it will be passed to the IESG for their decision on whether or not the meeting can proceed.

Step 5 - IETF LLC Board Approval

The IETF LLC Board is then asked to approve the venue location based on a confidential detailed information pack.

Step 6 - Contracting

Once the IETF LLC Board has approved a venue, the final contracts are agreed and signed.

Step 7 - Community Notification

Once the contracts are signed and we are committed to the venue, we notify the community and update the upcoming meetings page.

Exploratory meetings

A meeting held outside of these three regions is called an ‘exploratory meeting’. These are only held occasionally (every 4 or more years or so) and can be in-person or virtual.  Generally, an exploratory meeting replaces one of the three normal regional meetings but it can be an additional meeting making four in one year.

For countries or cities outside of the three regions the following process from RFC 8719 for an exploratory meeting must be followed:

  • You must write to the IETF admin discussion list with your proposal for the IETF to meet in a specific city or country. You will need to explain why you are making the proposal and seek support from other IETF participants.  
  • If the IETF Chair determines there is consensus to consider the proposal then they inform the IETF LLC.  
  • The IETF LLC will then work with you to identify cities to take to step 2 in the process above.  You will be asked to fill out the IETF Venue Recommendation Form (IETF Participants) for each of the cities that goes to step 2.

Network requirements

We publish a detailed set of IETF Meeting Network Requirements that explain what we look for in the venue network. Compliance with these requirements is generally tested during step 4 in the process above. These requirements are currently under review.