Tuvalu Is Set To Become “The World’s First Digital Nation” As the Climate Crisis Worsens
"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."
The Pacific island nation of Tuvalu says it’s going to build a digital copy of itself in the metaverse as a way to preserve its history, culture, and land amidst the threats of rising sea levels and climate change. Tuvalu is comprised of 9 islands, halfway between Australia and Hawaii, with a population of approx 12,000.
Tuvalu's Minister for Justice, Communication & Foreign Affairs Simon Kofe spoke about the initiative today in a video for the UN’s COP27 climate summit, saying, “As our land disappears, we have no choice but to become the world's first digital nation.”
"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, while standing on a digital replica of an islet.
Last year, Kofe made headlines from COP26 when he spoke to the conference while in knee-deep seawater to illustrate the realities of rising ocean levels.
According to Reuters, approximately 40% of Tuvalu’s capital district is already regularly underwater during high tide, and the entire country “is forecast to be underwater by the end of the century.”
Tuvalu will be the first country to turn to the metaverse, but the city of Seoul and the island nation of Barbados announced their plans last year. Seoul aims to provide accessibility to public services, events, and historical sites. For Barbados, the goal is a digital embassy.