Have you ever thought about the Wikimedia movement in terms of sustainable development? How free knowledge could have the potential to radically change peoples’ lives? Or how we through cooperation, innovation and passion actually could build a better world? Perhaps you haven’t, but we want to think about it and start a conversation.
The theme of Wikimania 2019 will be: Stronger together: Wikimedia, Free Knowledge and the Sustainable Development Goals. The theme will permeate the program and guide our communication, cooperation and outward work.
In September 2015, nearly all countries in the world agreed on a “universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity”. The seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were thus announced, all of them aiming towards a sustainable world. The goals are a central part in the work to fulfilling Agenda 2030, the United Nations’ agreed agenda on how to reach a sustainable world in the upcoming decade.
The seventeen SDGs have given people, organizations and governments across the world a shared framework for their work, efforts and investments. They cover a broad range of areas, including social, economic and ecological development. Specifically, the goals include the right to quality education (goal number 4), a reduction of gender inequality (goal 5), ensuring innovation (9), empowering people regardless of their background (10), support to develop global partnerships (17) and achieving sustainable societies (11–15).
The goals highlight the importance of cooperation between global, regional and local actors, and are broken down into 169 measurable targets. When all targets are met, the SDGs can be said to have been fulfilled.
The WMF vision is “Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That's our commitment.” This guiding vision has led the global Wikimedia movement to develop a number of resources that have a significant impact globally and have helped millions of people. But what are the possibilities in the future? How can more people benefit from the Wikimedia projects and the connected resources? What more can be done?
The Sustainable Development Goals correspond well to Wikimedia's vision and our role as a global movement with a unique resource. The Wikimedia volunteers, the affiliates, the Wikimedia Foundation and the projects themselves arguably have an important role to play to achieve the goals. By inviting the SDGs as a thematic framework for Wikimania 2019, we hope to give food for thought and discuss how the Wikimedia movement can contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Wikimedia is a part of something larger, a global movement, and we develop our projects not for profit but rather to contribute to a greater good. Presenting our work within the framework of the Global Goals will increase understanding of what effects our work have had since we started and will have in the future.
As with the SDG’s, the current Movement Strategy is lasting until 2030. The Wikimedia Movement Strategy process has put focus on free knowledge as a service and on knowledge equity. This is an opportunity to stop and think about how we can achieve our strategic goals and move in the identified direction long term. We continuously need to discuss how the choices we make at the local level have a global impact, and vice versa.
We need to have awareness of and consider how technical trends bring both benefits and drawbacks to the Wikimedia projects. As more people in the world come online and digital content is growing, we must discuss those who are not visible and are excluded from engaging in the sum of all knowledge.
Our hope is that this theme can help Wikimedians across the world consider the long-term impact and what the future has in store for us as a movement. Wikimania is an opportunity to bring people with different perspectives together and contribute with a range of knowledge and skills to identify the challenges that lie ahead and come up with solutions to help us solve those challenges.
We hope to achieve a conference format which calls for participants to share the high level impact of their activities, instead of highlighting past or completed projects. We believe that this theme will help get us there.