Tuvalu turns to the metaverse as rising seas threaten existence

Nov 15 (Reuters) – Tuvalu said on Tuesday it plans to establish itself digitally. By simulating islands and landmarks as well as preserving their history and culture As sea levels rise, the small island nations in the pacific ocean submerged

Tuvalu’s Foreign Minister Simon Kofe told the COP27 climate summit it was time to consider alternatives to his country’s survival. And that includes Tuvalu becoming the first digital country in the metaverse, an online realm that uses augmented and virtual reality (VR) to help users. Interact.

“our land our ocean Our culture is the most valuable asset of human beings. and to keep them safe from harm. no matter what happens in the physical world We will move them to the cloud,” he said in the video seen. He stands on a digital model of an islet threatened by rising sea levels.

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Kofe gained global attention at last year’s COP26 when he delivered a conference speech that stood deep beneath the sea to show how Tuvalu is on the frontlines of climate change.

Tuvalu needs to take action. because countries The world is not doing enough to prevent climate change, he said.

Tuvalu will be the first country to replicate itself in the metaverse, but is behind both Seoul and the island nation of Barbados. which last year said they would enter the metaverse to provide administrative and consular services respectively.

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“The idea is to continue working as a state and beyond to preserve our culture. our knowledge Our history in the digital space,” Kofe told Reuters ahead of the announcement.

Tuvalu, an archipelago of 9 islands and a population of 12,000, is halfway between Australia and Hawaii. It is a major cause of risk from climate change and rising sea levels.

Up to 40% of the capital area is underwater during high tide. And it is predicted that the entire country will be submerged by the end of the century.

Kofe said he hoped that creating a digital nation would allow Tuvalu to continue acting as a state even if the country was submerged.

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This is important because the government is embarking on steps to ensure that Tuvalu remains internationally recognized as a state and its maritime territories – and the resources within those waters – are intact even if the island is submerged. under water

Kofe said seven governments had agreed to accept it on an ongoing basis. But there are challenges if Tuvalu takes action. Because it is a new area of ​​international law.

Reporting by Lucy Craymer in Wellington; Edited by the Lincoln Party

Our Standard: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles

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