The Global Council is a planned body that is intended to serve as "a global structure that responds to the needs of our Movement as a whole and represents communities in an equitable way", and would be "representative of the Movement in its role and composition". It was proposed as part of one of the 2018-20 Strategy recommendations, titled "Ensure Equity in Decision-making", which was then, together with the rest of the recommendations, approved by the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees.
The recommendation states that "Any decision affecting our communities has to involve those communities to prevent imbalanced outcomes", and describes the Council as "providing representation of communities" and "ensur[ing] shared responsibility and accountability". The Council will be composed of both elected and selected members, "in a way designed to reflect the breadth and diversity of participation not only in the Movement at present but also in communities we wish to serve".
The Council's precise responsibilities will be outlined by a Movement Charter. The development of the Charter will be overseen by an Interim Global Council that will be created during the Strategy Transition process.
Roles and responsibilities
From the strategy recommendations:
This body will have authorities and responsibilities outlined in the Charter, and these should include, but not be limited to:
- Overseeing the implementation of Movement Strategy, with community input wherever possible, and its alignment across established structures of the Movement;
- Overseeing further development and endorsement of the Movement Charter;
- Enforcing accountability of all Movement organizations around:
- Use of Movement funds;
- Alignment with the Wikimedia mission, vision, and Strategic Direction;
- Compliance with the Movement Charter;
- Appropriate use of movement branding and marks;
- Setting frameworks on resource allocation and revenue generation for the Movement.
- Any responsibility that the Interim Global Council has identified as needing to be delegated by the Board.
The Global Council should oversee the implementation of the guidance given by the Movement as described in the Movement Charter, including recommendations for funds allocation to regional and thematic hubs and other Movement organizations while recognizing the involved organizations’ legal and fiduciary obligations.
Board good practices accountability
The Global Council will be responsible for holding boards accountable for following good practices, and will create mechanisms to review and provide support for boards that do not follow good practices. Good practice guidelines for how boards function (such as term limits, election and selection processes, and approaches to other governance questions where applicable and relevant for a community) will be established.
Transition and Interim Global Council
During the Strategy Transition process, an Interim Global Council will be established. The Interim Global Council will oversee the creation of a Movement Charter, which will set out the values, principles and policy basis for Movement structures, including the roles and responsibilities of the Global Council, regional and thematic hubs, as well as other existing and new entities and decision-making bodies. The Interim Global Council will also:
- Play a leadership role in supporting the implementation of the Movement Strategy.
- Engage with the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation to identify areas of its current responsibilities that must be transferred to achieve the goals of the recommendations, and;
- Design an independent and transparent process, along with an independent legal assessment, to transfer those responsibilities and authorities to the appropriate Movement-led bodies. In those cases in which the legal limitations of the organizational structure cannot be overcome, a social contract will be established to allow those bodies to make legally non-binding but socially binding decisions. This ensures that the authorities and responsibilities of the Global Council and of the other Movement-led bodies are respected and they lead within the Movement.
After the development of the Movement Charter, the Interim Global Council will dissolve and a permanent Global Council will be established according to the Charter.
Several proposals for global bodies representing the community were made previously, including the Wikicouncil (also called "Wikimedia Global Council") proposal in 2005, and the Wikimedia Federation proposal in 2008.
The Global Council proposal was initiated by the Roles and Responsibilities Working Group during the 2018-20 Strategy Process. The proposal went through three iterations (1, 2, 3), before arriving at the final version in May 2020. The proposal, together with the rest of the strategy recommendations, was then approved by the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees.
- “Immediate steps” comment from Ad Huikeshoven (in English)
- Global Council distribution formula - a proposal by Yair rand (in English)
- Global Council proposal by Ziko (in English)
- Movement Charter Input by The Land
- Strategic Wikimedia Affiliates Network: IGC-MC
- Nano Charter by Pharos
- Project wiki representatives
- Proposal by Ramzy Muliawan (in English)