Yesterday morning, I announced to the committee that the next ISO WG21 (C++) meeting originally planned for June 1-6 in Varna, Bulgaria, has been postponed due to the current health situation.
We appreciate very much all the hard work and expense that our hosts, VMware and Chaos Group, have invested in welcoming us to their beautiful country for our first Bulgarian meeting! And we haven’t given up: We still hope to meet in Varna as soon as possible, but it will be sometime after 2020. In the meantime, our current plan is to continue with our existing meeting schedule, and hold our next face-to-face ISO C++ meeting in New York City this November, subject of course to global developments as all of us throughout the world deal with this emergency together.
We all love C++, but our first priority is the health and safety of all of our experts and observers, all of our families, and of the global community. The ISO C++ committee leadership (about 60 current and former officers and chairs) had already been monitoring the situation closely and making fallback plans. Then the decision was made for us yesterday morning when, shortly after WHO declared a pandemic, ISO issued a global ban on all face-to-face standards meetings through at least June 30:
Interestingly, the ISO Secretary-General’s announcement included the note that approximately 275 ISO meetings scheduled to happen between 1 Feb and 30 June had already been cancelled, which gives a glimpse into the scope and scale of ISO standards work.
In the meantime, progress will continue. Many WG21 subgroups have already been having regular online meetings between our full face-to-face meetings, and we will expand that and have more subgroups making progress using ISO’s online meeting facilities throughout the spring and summer. But above all, please everyone be safe, take this crisis seriously, and follow the instructions on social distancing and isolation — by doing that we will all help ourselves and our communities. Of course this will still get worse before it gets better, but we are not helpless: The actions that we as individuals and communities are taking right now are going to make a major difference in reducing the damage done, because most of the potential damage is still ahead of us where we can influence it.
It’s hard to know yet how soon it will be before our conferences and standards meetings will resume as usual, because the situation is still changing rapidly. But we’ll keep watching, we’ll keep staying safe not just for our own sake but also to minimize danger to others, and after it’s over I look forward to seeing many of you again, face to face, at our regular events in the hopefully-near future.