A glimpse of our movement beyond the ratification of the Movement Charter

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While the Movement Charter Drafting Committee is in its third iteration of work, and finalizes a completed Movement Charter for a new round of community consultations, allow me to take you along to our future movement landscape after its ratification.

I am Ciell, a long-time member of the Wikimedia community, and a member of the Movement Charter Drafting Committee since its start in November 2021. Besides this committee work, I hold admin rights on several wikis and am involved in organizing Wiki Loves Monuments and Gender Gap-related activities and projects.

A paved cement bike path, with a border of grass and tree on the left and a field of green on the right. The sky is blue but with white clouds. The bike path fades into the distance, there is no traffic.

What will be the next steps in the short term, and what is expected to change in the midterm for the governance of our Movement?
First and foremost: the intent of the Charter is to leave the decisions with the stakeholders that are best positioned to take these decisions, as subsidiarity is and always needs to be one of the core values of the Wikimedia movement. If the draft is ratified as it is currently taking shape, for our online project communities (for example, Spanish Wikipedia, Japanese Wikivoyage, Polish Wikisource, or Wikimedia Commons) this means they will stay the main decision maker when it comes to governing their local projects. Unless these decisions have legal implications or violate a global policy, this power remains where it is.

As within these local communities, the decision-making in the global bodies in the near future will be with those that have the background to best serve the goal of the decisions. Again, as the Movement Charter Drafting Committee is currently thinking, and if the draft is ratified, when it comes down to the legal matters and trust and safety of our movement, this will continue to be the Wikimedia Foundation. However, where it involves global decisions that directly impact our movement members, the decision-making powers will be with those serving on the Global Council. These decisions include, for instance, the recognition of new affiliates, the allocation of grants in the movement, and adding new language editions to the Wikimedia projects.

The ratification of the Movement Charter is an important milestone, but what comes next? 
After the movement has ratified the Movement Charter, you can expect the announcement of the procedure for joining the Global Council. While working on the chapter for the Global Council, the drafting committee is also working on the initial internal policies to support this body. This means the drafting committee will share with you a first outline of a membership policy, and the criteria for the process of election, selection and/or appointment. The Movement Charter will also include a section about amendments for future modifications.

After the establishment of the Global Council, this first group of members will have a pioneering role in the Council’s setup. While some initial policies will be described, there is still a lot of work ahead. The handover of the charter by the drafting committee will be part of the induction process of the new Council members, to make sure they understand what the considerations were during the drafting process. The members of the drafting committee will make sure to stay available for a considerable amount of time to answer questions that may arise after the Council installment. The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees is expected to do a gradual handover of the tasks that until then have been under their care. This means onboarding to the backgrounds and previous cases that led to the development of essential guidelines for these responsibilities, and previous board resolutions on these topics.

Would you like to serve on the Global Council, or know someone who is a good fit for the role?

When reading the new drafts that the drafting committee will share with you in April, think about this: would you want to serve on the Global Council, or one of the sub-committees that will support it? Or maybe you know people from your community who would be willing and capable to take a seat? Everyone has a role to play in this effort.

The Movement Charter is designed from the Movement Strategy recommendation to improve equity in decision-making, but the Council can only do so when there are movement members who are willing to take on this responsibility. Taking a seat will mean you have to think from your perspective as a movement member in a community or affiliate, while also seeing things through the global perspective lens to make sure no one is lost in the process.

Prepare to review the new drafts of the Charter in April 
April 2024 will be the start of the next round of community conversations, and you will be invited to have a look at the renewed Charter draft on Meta. The drafting committee is pulling together all previously consulted chapters into one Charter, and very much welcomes your input and observations, because the Charter is written for all members of the Movement. All levels of feedback are welcome, and proposals for improvement even more so! You can give feedback on the general content, ask ‘why’ questions, point out inconsistencies throughout the chapters of the draft, flag a misalignment in translation, suggest another word or phrasing, or share a counter-proposal. 

Let the drafting committee know your feedback through Meta, or in the next round of Community Conversations about the Charter.

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