Tuvalu, one of the smallest countries in the world, is turning to the Metaverse to preserve its culture. With climate change threatening its existence, Tuvalu’s Foreign Minister Simon Kofe said Tuesday at the COP27 climate summit that it was time to seek alternative solutions for his country’s survival. He plans to use the Metaverse to create a digital version of the country, replicating islands and landmarks and protect its history and culture.
“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,“ said the minister via video that showed him standing on a digital replica of an islet threatened by rising sea levels.
The tiny Pacific island nation could therefore become the first digitised nation in the Metaverse – an online realm that uses augmented and virtual reality (VR) to help users interact. Tuvalu will be the first nation to replicate itself in the Metaverse, but it is preceded by both Seoul, South Korea, and Barbados, an island country, which have announced last year that they will enter the Metaverse to offer administrative and consular services, respectively.
“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 ahead of the announcement
This is not the first time as Kofe grabbed global attention, at last year’s COP26 summit, he addressed the conference while kneeling in the sea, to illustrate how Tuvalu is on the front line of climate change.
Tuvalu is an archipelago consisting of nine islands located between Australia and Hawaii. It’s home to approximately 12,000 people and up to 40% of the its capital district is underwater at high tide. Climate scientists anticipate the entire country will be underwater by the end of the 21st century.
Kofe hopes the creation of a digital nation would allow Tuvalu to continue to function as a state even if it becomes completely submerged. In case this happens, the government, already makes efforts to ensure that Tuvalu remains internationally recognised as a nation and that its maritime borders and resources in its waters are protected.