Tuvalu, an island that is at the risk of being submerged and disappearing from the face of earth due to rising sea levels, will have a second life as a digital twin virtual nation.
The country will now develop a digital twin of itself and make copies of the island’s landmarks.
The authorities believe going into the metaverse as a digital twin will preserve the country’s culture and heritage in perpetuity.
Will make use of Augmented Reality
Tuvalu’s foreign minister Simon Kofe told delegates at the COP27 climate summit his country would become the first nation to be digitised in the metaverse – a virtual world that makes use of both virtual reality (VR) and Augmented Reality – (AR) when users immerse themselves via VR headsets.
“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 clip standing in the rising waters.
Knee-deep in the sea in a video, Kofe addressed the COP26 last year and helped shine a light on the problem of rising water levels in the small Pacific island nation and the broader climate change problem in the world.
Kofe said his country had to take urgent action on the problem that confronts the island because internationally countries were not “doing enough” to prevent climate change.
The small Pacific island will make history by becoming the first country to create a digital twin of itself.
Digital country could be first to be recognized
There are other projects aiming to create digital copies of our shared spaces, including the very ambitious Earth-2 project that aims to create a digital copy of the whole globe.
The city of Seoul and the island nation of Barbados have also previously indicated they would enter the Tuvalu mverse to offer administrative and consular services.
“The idea is to continue to function as a state and beyond that to preserve our culture, our knowledge, and our history in a digital space,” Kofe said ahead of the announcement.
Tuvalu, which is a group of nine islands and 12,000 inhabitants halfway between Australia and Hawaii, is a case in point on the dangers climate change and rising sea levels pose to humanity. Almost 40% of the capital’s district is underwater at high tide with the entire country seen becoming submerged by the end of the century.
By creating a digital nation, Kofe says this will allow Tuvalu to still function as a state virtually even after it becomes completely submerged.
This comes amid efforts by the country’s government to ensure that Tuvalu continues to be recognised diplomatically as a state even after its submerged. They also want the country’s maritime boundaries and its underwater resources to be respected even after the islands are submerged.
Seven governments have so far agreed to continue recognising the country when it becomes a digital-only entity, but Simon Kofe admits there would be challenges if Tuvalu becomes submerged, as this would become a new precedence of international law.