Tuvalu’s Foreign Minister, Simon Kofe, stated at the COP27 climate summit that it was time to consider alternative solutions for his country’s survival, including becoming the first nation to replicate itself in the metaverse. The Pacific Island nation plans to create a digital clone of itself, recreating islands and monuments and conserving its history and culture as rising sea levels threaten to submerge the country.
“As our land disappears, we have no choice but to become the world’s first digital nation,” Kofe said in a video message to the conference. “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.”
True to its content, the minister delivered his speech standing on a digital replica of an islet in Tuvalu that he said would disappear should global temperature rise above 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“It has long been the time for action, but we have not stepped up to the challenge,” Kofe added.
The nation, made up of nine islands and 12,000 people, has been drumming up its campaign to call the world’s attention to climate goals. At the COP26 last year, Kofe delivered his video speech standing knee-deep in seawater to underscore the point of the rising sea level’s threat on his nation.
Reportedly at high tide, up to 40% of the capital district is submerged, and the entire country is expected to be submerged by the end of the century.
Currently, Tuvalu is under a state of public emergency as the nation battles drought and the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. On the climate front, the country joins fellow Pacific nation Vanuatu to call for a treaty to phase out the use of fossil fuels.
Tuvalu will be the first country to copy itself in the metaverse, but it will be followed by the city of Seoul and the island nation of Barbados, both of which announced plans to enter the metaverse last year to provide administrative and consular services, respectively.
Japan is also looking into metaverse as Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in a policy speech to the country’s parliament earlier in October that plans to increase investments in the country’s digital transformation will include the metaverse and NFTs.
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