Tuvalu to Build a Metaverse Replica of Itself as Climate Change Threatens the Nation’s Existence

The tiny Pacific Island nation wants to preserve its history and culture in the metaverse.
Image source: CC2.0

Quick take:

  • Tuvalu is exploring alternative solutions for the nation’s survival.
  • Up to 40% of Tuvalu’s capital goes underwater at high tide.
  • The entire country could be underwater by the end of the century.

Tuvalu, a small Pacific Island nation consisting of nine islands and a population of 12,000 located between Hawaii and Australia, plans to build a digital twin of itself in the metaverse.

According to a Reuters report, Tuvalu’s Foreign Minister Simon Kofe told the COP27 climate summit that it was time for the nation to explore alternative solutions for its survival as rising sea levels threaten its existence. One of the solutions includes becoming the first nation digitalised in the metaverse.

“Our land, our ocean, our culture are the most precious assets of our people and to keep them safe from harm, no matter what happens in the physical world, we will move them to the cloud,” he said in a video.

At last year’s COP26, Kofe stood knee-deep in seawater as he addressed the conference to show how much Tuvalu was at risk of climate change. He said that Tuvalu had to act as countries around the world were not doing enough to prevent climate change.

Up to 40% of Tuvalu’s capital goes underwater at high tide and forecasts predict that the entire country could be completely submerged by the end of the century. Kofe hope that a metaverse version of Tuvalu can allow the country to continue functioning as a state even if it goes underwater.

“The idea is to continue to function as a state and beyond that to preserve our culture, our knowledge, our history in a digital space,” Kofe told Reuters.

The country’s government has already begun efforts to ensure its international recognition as a state and maintain its maritime boundaries even if Tuvalu’s islands vanish under rising sea levels. Kofe said seven governments have agreed to the continual recognition but if Tuvalu sinks, the country will face challenges in a new area of international law.

Tuvalu will be the first country to create a metaverse replica but follows Seoul and Barbados which announced last year that they plan to provide administrative and consular services in the metaverse respectively. The South Korean city of Changwon is already planning to build a digital twin in the metaverse.


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