The Wikimedia Foundation welcomes yesterday’s decision of the United States, Italy, Sweden, and Estonia to introduce, with broad cross-regional support from other member states, a resolution asking the UN’s Economic and Social Affairs Council (ECOSOC) to grant accreditation to the Wikimedia Foundation and five other NGOs: Inimõiguste Instituut (Estonia), Syrian American Medical Society (US), National Human Rights Civic Association “Belarusian Helsinki Committee” (Belarus), Non C’è Pace Senza Giustizia (Italy), and Diakonia (Sweden).
As the guarantor and supporter for the Wikimedia projects and free knowledge movement, ECOSOC observer status would enable the Wikimedia Foundation to represent the interests of contributors and readers of Wikipedia and other projects. The Wikimedia worldwide free knowledge movement is an important stakeholder in the conversation around the role of access to knowledge in advancing global sustainable development.
For more than a decade, ECOSOC’s NGO Committee has blocked the accreditation of well-qualified NGOs that stand up for human rights and freedom of expression such as the Wikimedia Foundation. During the NGO Committee’s most recent session, on 7 June 2022, it approved a “no action” motion to prevent applications from the Wikimedia Foundation and other NGOs from being brought up for a vote.
The ultimate decision on whether to accredit an NGO rests with the full membership of ECOSOC.
“Wikipedia is a vital tool for promoting education, ensuring access to verifiable and reliable information, and advancing goals such as global health access in underserved regions of the globe,” said Amanda Keton, General Counsel at the Wikimedia Foundation. “We urge ECOSOC members to support this resolution when it comes up for consideration on 21 July 2022.”
The Wikimedia Foundation is the US-based global nonprofit that aims to make knowledge freely accessible to everyone around the world. The organization hosts Wikipedia and a collection of other Wikimedia projects, and offers access to over 585 million articles with peer-reviewed information written in 300 languages, all for free and without ads. In May 2022 alone, Wikimedia websites received over 22 billion unique page views globally.
The Wikimedia Foundation ensures that Wikipedia and other Wikimedia websites are fast, reliable, and available to all. Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects are created and supported by an unprecedented global network of affiliate groups and organizations and tens of thousands of volunteers. Together these groups comprise the “Wikimedia movement.”
Wikipedia provides information that enables students to learn the essential 21st century skills needed to advance their professional careers and enrich their personal lives. Hundreds of thousands of students and educators rely on it every day. Wikipedia has also been widely recognized as a reliable source for medical information during the COVID-19 pandemic, as Wikipedia editors have helped stem the flow of misinformation around the globe, including in a collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Wikimedia Foundation remains deeply committed to the promotion of greater and more equitable access to information and educational content online in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and looks forward to deepening our engagement with the United Nations system as an ECOSOC-accredited NGO.