Tuvalu has said that it plans to build a digital version of itself, representing islands and landmarks to preserve its history and culture as it battles rising sea levels.
Tuvalu foreign minister Simon Kofe told the COP27 climate summit that it was looking at alternative solutions for the country’s survival. The plan would make the tiny Pacific island the world’s first digitised nation 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,” Kofe said in a video that saw him standing on a digital replica of an islet.
Tuvalu, a group of nine islands halfway between Australia and Hawaii, has a population of just 12,000. Up to 40 per cent of the capital district Funafuti is submerged at high tide. The entire country is expected to be under water by the end of the century.
The country said it would use AR and VR to allow users to interact with the collection of atolls after they are gone.
Kofe told Reuters that he hoped the creation of a digital nation would allow Tuvalu to continue to function as a state even if after it became completely submerged.
The government has begun efforts to ensure that Tuvalu continues to be recognised internationally as a state and its maritime boundaries — and the resources within those waters — are maintained even if the islands are submerged.
Kofe said seven governments have agreed to continual recognition but there were challenges if Tuvalu goes under as it would be unprecedented in international law.
South Korean capital Seoul and the nation of Barbados said last year that they would enter the metaverse to provide administrative and consular services.
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