Why this Pacific island country wants to become world's first 'digital nation'?

Published on Nov 24, 2022 03:00 PM IST

While addressing UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) through video conferencing, Tuvalu’s Foreign Minister Simon Kofe said, “As our land disappears, we have no choice but to become the world’s first digital nation."

Tuvalu's digital illustration (screengrab/ YouTube )
Tuvalu's digital illustration (screengrab/ YouTube )
By | Edited by Aryan Prakash

The Pacific island nation of Tuvalu is recreating a copy of itself in the metaverse to become first online nation as climate change threatens to submerge it fully by the end of the century.

Fearing it will be wiped out from the map, the island country wants to preserve a digital specimen to ‘provide solace to their people, and remind children and grandchildren what home once was’.

Why Tuvalu wants to become a digital nation?

While addressing UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) through video conferencing, Tuvalu’s Foreign Minister Simon Kofe said, “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’ll move them to the cloud.”

He warned that if no action is taken, the islands nation will not survive rapid temperature increases, rising sea levels, and drought. “Piece by piece, we’ll preserve our country, provide solace to our people, and remind our children and our grandchildren what our home once was.”

He added digital nation will give an online existence that can replace physical existence and allow to continue to operate as a State.

ALSO READ: UN climate conference COP27 makes historic decision on Loss and Damage fund

Impact of climate change on Tuvalu

Tuvalu is a tiny, secluded atoll island nation, situated roughly halfway between Australia and Hawaii. The country hardly exceeds 3 metres above mean sea level. According to a report of the United Nations Development Programme, temperature rise is creating a manifold problem for the country.

1) Groundwater resources have become unusable for human consumption because of pollution from saltwater intrusion caused by rising sea levels.

2) Salinity intrusion reinforced by the porosity of soil in Tuvalu has damaged Pulaka crops and reduced the harvests of various other fruit trees.

3) Rising sea levels, coupled with extreme weather events, are adding to the inundation of low-lying areas where most Tuvaluans live.

4) Rising sea temperatures are also advancing coral bleaching and waning marine productivity.

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