Tuvalu Looks to Metaverse to Preserve History, Culture as Rising Seas Threaten Existence


Tuvalu said on Tuesday it plans to construct a digital version of itself, replicating islands and landmarks and preserving its history and culture as rising sea levels threaten to submerge the tiny Pacific island nation.

Tuvalu’s Foreign Minister Simon Kofe told the COP27 climate summit it was time to take a look at alternative solutions for his country’s survival and this included Tuvalu becoming the primary digitised nation within the metaverse – an internet realm that uses augmented and virtual reality (VR) to assist users interact.

“Our land, our ocean, our culture are probably the most precious assets of our people and to maintain them protected from harm, irrespective of what happens within the physical world, we’ll move them to the cloud,” he said within the video that sees him standing on a digital replica of an islet threatened by rising sea levels.

Kofe grabbed global attention ultimately yr’s COP26 when he addressed the conference standing knee-deep in the ocean as an example how Tuvalu is on the front line of climate change.

Tuvalu was having to act because countries globally weren’t doing enough to stop climate change, he said.

Tuvalu shall be the primary country to copy itself within the metaverse but follows each town of Seoul and the island nation of Barbados which last yr said they might enter the metaverse to offer administrative and consular services, respectively.

“The concept is to proceed to operate as a state and beyond that to preserve our culture, our knowledge, our history in a digital space,” Kofe told Reuters ahead of the announcement.

Tuvalu, a gaggle of nine islands and 12,000 people halfway between Australia and Hawaii, has long been a cause celebre for the risks of climate change and rising sea levels.

As much as 40 percent of the capital district is underwater at high tide, and the complete country is forecast to be under water by the top of the century.

Kofe said he hoped the creation of a digital nation would allow Tuvalu to proceed to operate as a state even when it becomes completely submerged.

This is vital as the federal government begins efforts to make sure that Tuvalu continues to be recognised internationally as a state and its maritime boundaries – and the resources inside those waters – are maintained even when the islands are submerged.

Kofe said seven governments have agreed to continual recognition but there have been challenges if Tuvalu goes under because it is a latest area of international law.

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