Wiki loves SDGs

tl;dr Wikipedia can engage millions, billions of people to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030

Wikimedians and Wikipedians around the world have been involved with Wikimedia 2030 since 2015. The strategic direction is to build the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge. Back in 2015 a total of 193 members of the United Nations agreed to the 17 Sustainable Developments Goals to be reached by the year 2030. Last August many of you were in Stockholm, Sweden for Wikimania. The theme this year was “Stronger Together: Wikimedia, Free Knowledge and the Sustainable Development Goals”.[1]

Michael Edson, founder and director of UN Live, the Museum of the UN in Kopenhagen, Denmark held a keynote and asked Wikipedia for help. The UN isn’t able to reach millions, billions of people on its own to have them work on achieving the SDGs.[2] Wikipedia reaches half a billion people each month. Millions of people have contributed to Wikipedia.

Of course Wikipedia can spread the knowledge about the SDGs and how to solve them in each country, and in each language. We can make a very good case for an “open access knowledge sharing project related to the Sustainable Development Goals that uses Wikipedia as a tool”. A lot of knowledge will have to be gathered locally about local solutions to local problems. We as a free knowledge movement have done so succesfully in the past. We can do succesfully now.

The one big reason to step upto the challenge is in the vision of the movement: “Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.” Imagine every single human having access to how to solve each of the Sustainable Development Goals in their locality, in their language.[3]

Another reason is part of our mission: to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content.[4] Might people involved with the movement be able to educate people why and how to solve global goals locally?

Knowledge about SDGs is just a small subset of all knowledge. It would be a big step for mankind to have exactly that knowledge available well before the year 2030.[5] It won’t impede anyone to collect and share knowledge outside that subset, however.

To make it happen imagine having a small office with a handful dedicated people in each country. People with the capacity to build partnerships with NGO’s, universities, research institutions, government agencies, groups of citizens who are already involved with the SDGs.[6] People with the capacity to organize SDG themed writing contests and SDG themed edit-a-thons with participants from interested parties.[7]

As written above, it has been agreed to build the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge. Why would it be worthwhile to invest 50 million dollar a year to build such an infrastructure?[8] With those tiny offices in each country we it can exactly be done what Michael Edson begged us to do: get millions (or billions) of people working together on global goals and share the knowledge they gathered. To connect people everywhere and catalyze global effort toward accomplishing the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Wikimedia movement has the capacity to raise the necessary funds through banners on Wikipedia on top of what is now already collected, and alreadt spent each year.[9] After a long period - over four years - of mainly inward looking activities of board and working groups, the time has come to look outwards. The works of our movement have influence globally and can have global impact. Not impact measured as number of articles, or number of editors retained, but impact on the real social life of seven billion people, by sharing knowledge how to end poverty, how to end hunger and so on.[11]

Imagine a world where there is no poverty and zero hunger; with good health and well-being, quality education and full gender equality everywhere. There is clean water and sanitation for everyone. Affordable and clean energy has helped to create decent work and economic growth. Prosperity is fueled by investments in industry, innovation and infrastructure, which helped to reduce inequalities. Living in sustainable cities and communities, and responsible consumption and production are healing our world. Climate action has capped the warming of the planet, and life below water is flourishing, and there is abundant diverse life on land. There is peace and justice through strong institutions, and long term partnerships for the goals have been built.[12]

In the coming weeks I continue to have talks with people to get an “open access knowledge sharing project related to the Sustainable Development Goals that uses Wikipedia as a tool” or Wiki loves SDGs project started and launched. People willing to get involved, please contact me through private message.

Next week will start a strategy sprint in Tunis, with members of working groups present, the board of the WMF, chiefs of the WMF office and some people of WMDE to finalize the recommendations for Wikimedia 2030. Have a look at the SDGs and think about what you can do for the SDGs, and not what the SDGs can do for you.


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[1] (Thank you, Wittylama)