The Big Open (... for suggestions)
After a long time of somewhat unclear stance towards advocacy and public policy impact in general, the Wikimedia Movement since a couple of years builds capacities to actively advocate for public policy that takes into account the needs of Free Knowledge Projects. This happens both in the volunteer sphere of the movement and on the organisational level, especially within the group of European Chapters and in the WMF. Several battles have been fought on the political stage already – some were lost while in some we were quite successful in the end.
However, as more and more policy areas are added to very high-level instruments such as international trade agreements (e. g. copyright chapters being central parts inter alia of TPP, TTIP, CETA, EU-MERCOSUR), our advocacy on the national and regional level increasingly finds itself in a situation where we can only maneuver within the framework already set on the trade agreements level. It is quite obvious, that in order to not only be limited to damage control, civil society voi
ces like the Wikimedia Movement must become visible also around trade negotiations and ideally sit at the table with the two dominant groups there, which are governments and international commerce lobbies.
This session will address the conference theme — Wikimedia, Free Knowledge and the Sustainable Development Goals — in the following manner:
This session relates to all UN processes as well as all international and inter-governmental rule making efforts in general, and specifically to the UN SDGs 17 (more diverse, more accepted and thus stronger institutional processes) and 16 (better justification of international agreements). The abovementioned insight, that civil society is under-represented in those fora, isn’t a new one at all. Other movements like the Access to Medicines advocates are coordinating their efforts globally since many years. In our field of digital rights, the OER movement gives an example how to be a strong voice with the UN and beyond, and even trade agreements have already been very concretely targeted, by the [digital trade] networking efforts of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The EFF’s engagement has slowed down, though, and in this situation Wikimedia Germany puts out a call to base these trade-related advocacy efforts on the worldwide Wikimedia Movement as an organisational bedrock.
We have integrated thus into our strategic plan the goal to establish a back-bone for a global advocacy operation around trade negotiations, if and when the ensuing trade agreements have a potential influence on the framework for Free Knowledge. This operation is meant to have three stages: 1. Building the network (or rather: re-building and strengthening it from where the EFF has developed it already), 2. Building suitable narratives to mobilise all kinds of Wikimedia communities to the cause, and 3. Influencing ongoing trade negotiations by way of side events or ideally by way of direct participation. Wikimedia Germany would provide the back office / secretariat to keep the coordinated effort afloat.
In this session we want to talk about this plan and want to collect ideas, suggestions and hopefully even commitments to [The Big Open]* as a shared project and global experiment.
At the end of the session, the following will have been achieved:
- Attendees interested in advocacy and the general framework for Free Knowledge will have an idea about what the effort is all about;
- Spontaneous ideas about how to support the operation have been voiced, collected and maybe already partly been discussed;
- More thinking has been sparked and people are willing to spread the word;
- More info on where and how to expand the network around this effort has been gathered.
Affiliation/country (if any)[edit | edit source]
- Wikimedia Deutschland e. V. (German Chapter)
Each Space at Wikimania 2019 will have specific format requests. The program design prioritises submissions which are future-oriented and directly engage the audience. The format of this submission is a:
- Lightning talk
- Panel with audience Question & Answer session
The session will work best with these conditions:
nothing special, but should allow for discussions / Q&A
no special knowledge needed
fixed-location recording should be feasible, publication under CC BY 4.0 is alright :)
*This label / name has already been used at international gatherings, then usually meaning a close cooperation between the WMF, Creative Commons and Mozilla. We use this name here with implicit permission of some of its creators.