Article by François Soulard, Dunia

Dunia is ten years old. A digital communication platform, it was forged at the time of the Rio+20 Earth Summit (2012) from a founding intuition: to support the effort of civilian networks to fight their informational battles within a geopolitical climate that seemed to be hardening.

Let us briefly return to the context of the time. Under the guise of multilateral cooperation, the UN summit had just said, between the lines, that the environmental agenda had its place in the global agenda, but that it remained subordinate to the tug-of-war between powers. In other words, environmental policies would follow in the footsteps of the competition between states to gain the upper hand over their opponents.
On the informational level, the Rio+20 summit was immersed in a new stage of the “information society”. Corporate social networks multiplied the voice of civilian actors. Dunia contributed by setting up the multilingual site to bring back a large number of initiatives and proposals. Several civilian networks stepped up to polemicize in particular the model of “green economy” behind which was wrapped a speculative grabbing of resources . This rich matrix of proposals, which nevertheless contrasted with the dispersion of civilian actors, called for autonomous levers of communication.

Along the way, Dunia structured a digital tool for network communication. This covers infrastructure (OVH data center in France, servers, connectivity) and software engineering that automate certain communication actions: setting up a hive of websites, massively viralizing content on electronic lists, exchanging information as a team, launching a multilingual videoconference, managing its document stock and developing collective intelligence, etc. Forty tools, interoperable and under free license, are now in place. Dunia is not the developer, but rather the deployer and administrator, sometimes the contributor.

The software intelligence programmed in these tools conveys in itself a mode of action. It cannot be separated from an upstream strategic questioning. Beyond being just tools, how to design a communication strategy? How to map conceptual content or organize a virtual meeting of 10,000 participants in several languages? The action is thus full of methodological issues, supported by the digital dimension, but linked to a project and a strategic intuition. Experimentation quickly distinguished itself within our roadmap.

Partnerships established on this basis are multifaceted. Digital service made available, contractual rental of tailor-made services for networks or institutions, advisory and support mission, training, activist experimentation, support for a network communication offer on a global scale. Dunia, with its small associative structure and its 4-5 activists with variable geometry, was able to be the linchpin of various initiatives: Rio+20, World Forum of Free Media, World Social Forum on Transformative Economies, World Social Forum (virtual) of 2021, among others. The FPH is one of the long-term supporters of the project.

Since 2021, RIPESS Europe and Dunia have entered into an agreement to strengthen the digital component of the network (infrastructure, tool support and monitoring) and to take part in the orientations as a guest member of the network.

A new stage has been underway since the COVID-19 pandemic. Information warfare, i.e. the search for persuasion and influence through content, has taken on a considerable dimension in the balance of power. The evolution towards a multipolar world is making the cognitive dimension a determining variable. From the local to the global, economic strategies are increasingly based on informational levers, a real blind spot in theoretical production.

In short, to fight and carry its proposals, a network must practice a new art of informational combat. Deciphering strategies and dynamics of influence, broadening its visions waging guerrilla warfare through content, deepening the springs of network action, securing communications. These few keywords summarize our learning quite well.