Wikimedia Hubs are a type of support structure, intended to "enable a common space for coordinating activities and identifying and advocating for the needs of the communities and organizations they serve" and "empower existing and future communities to have the capacity and resources to make and implement their own decisions to meet their differing needs". They can focus on supporting a specific region ("regional hubs") or a global thematic area ("thematic hubs"). Hubs were 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.
Hubs will provide legal support for community members and organizations; resource allocation (including for sustaining communities and organizations with multi-year plans), based on frameworks set by the Global Council; evaluation of safety and security guidelines and procedures, adapted to local contexts; coordination of capacity building; technology development; and support for organizational growth through tailored advice and peer support (evaluation, funding, networking, mentorship, etc.). They will be independent in their daily work and operations, though coordinating with other stakeholders and sharing results of their work with the rest of the Movement. Hubs' scope and functionality will, following the subsidiary principle, be decided by communities and organizations based on their contexts and needs, and their governance will vary depending on the needs and capabilities of the communities they work with. The precise roles and responsibilities of Hubs will be set out in the Movement Charter.
Hubs will be either an enhancement of existing entities, collaborations between affiliates, or new structures formed for a specific purpose. They are expected to emerge according to identified needs and organic initiatives. The Recommendation encourages the Movement to "Assess which thematic or geographic areas of the Movement need structures that support coordination across stakeholders" and to "actively facilitate and support" the creation of hubs.
Regional hubs focus on supporting specific regions, allowing contextualizing activities, tools, and information. The recommendation states that "If appropriately resourced, they will empower groups of affiliates to collaborate on capacity building, knowledge transfer, and coordination."
Thematic hubs focus on supporting global thematic areas. The term "thematic area" is not defined the the Strategy Recommendations or glossary, but was defined in earlier drafts as meaning "areas of expertise", and the final version mentions "advocacy, capacity building, partnerships, research, etc." as possible examples of thematic areas.
Thematic hubs are described in the Recommendation as "allow[ing] for specialization and work across the Movement, where shared objectives benefit from coordinated solutions."
In June 2010, Iberocoop, Wikimedia's first regional collaborative, was established. In the years following, several more groups were created, such as the East, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Regional Cooperation and Wikimedia Central and Eastern Europe, among others.
During the 2018-20 Strategy Process, proposals for regional and thematic hubs were put forward by both the Resource Allocation Working Group (see early draft recommendations for regional hubs: first draft, second draft; thematic hubs: 1, 2), and the Roles and Responsibilities Working Group (first proposed as part of the "Quotiel" model, see draft recommendation, which mentions inspiration from the existing regional collaborations). The Advocacy and Capacity Building Working Groups developed draft recommendations for dedicated organizations for Advocacy and Capacity Building, respectively (see drafts, advocacy 1, 2, capacity building 1, 2); these were then integrated as examples of possible thematic hubs. The recommendations were revised in a third-iteration draft, before arriving at the final version in May 2020. The overall proposal, together with the rest of the strategy recommendations, was then approved by the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees.