The archipelago of Tuvalu duplicates its territory and culture in the metaverse

Symbol of global warming, Tuvalu, one of the smallest states on the planet, is trying to make the world aware of its fate. On the occasion of COP 27, Tuvalu’s foreign minister therefore announced the creation of a digital copy of his country, thus attempting a virtual survival after absorption. Located in the heart of the South Pacific, this Oceania island nation is in danger of disappearing due to rising sea levels. Marie Sorbier went to find Géraldine Giraudeau to find out more.

Critical situation for the Polynesian archipelago

If some of the states of the globe have already disappeared, especially for political reasons, no territory has really disappeared today. However, the Tuvalu archipelago will be swallowed up in a few years. Indeed, the Pacific island states have been on the front lines of the effects of climate change and have been for many years. They are exposed to various effects, including an increase in the frequency of extreme climatic events, acidification of corals, rising water levels and even salinization of the soil.

These effects are already raising legal questions, especially because they push back the baseline that allows maritime borders and boundaries to be calculated or demarcated.Geraldine Giraudeau

This situation has already caused several displacements of people from different communities and their relocation within the Anatolian states, which consist entirely of low-lying coral formations.

An earthly disappearance is to be expected

Whether it is Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Tokelau – a special territory of New Zealand – or even Tuvalu, the possibility of this disappearance raises new legal questions.

In international law, a state is considered to consist of three elements: a population, a territory and a government.Geraldine Giraudeau

However, as in certain islands, these territories will become uninhabitable or even, in the case of Tuvalu, completely swallowed by the water, it is equivalent to considering that one of the constituents of the state is disappearing. Therefore questioning the survival of this state, in itself as well as in international organizations. There is also the question of the status of nationals of that state who are to be relocated, as well as that relating to the state’s rights in maritime areas, the areas of which are significant.

These “terrestrial confetti” are in reality vast maritime nations, as they exercise powers over a territorial sea and an exclusive economic zone, extending up to 200,000 seamen from the baselines, through the application of the law of the sea.” Geraldine Giraudeau

A virtual state, promise of a cultural sanctuary

All these questions are already on the agenda for several institutions, which have started to think about ways. Tuvalu, for example, could possibly reinvent itself via the metaverse. In addition to the “advertising effect”, to alert the international community, this track could have the advantage of maintaining support for the continuity of the state.

A deterritorialized state or a visual state would make it possible to provide access to certain government services to the citizens of Tuvalu who will have been relocated.Geraldine Giraudeau

Tuvalu’s project is to download this entire state, both in its spatial aspect and its cultural aspect. This would ensure that its inhabitants have access to the cultural wealth of their island, as well as for future generations who may never gain access to the territory itself.

We imagine that these citizens and or their descendants wearing 3D glasses can access what Tuvalu was. So it is the spilling over into the virtual world of something that would then no longer exist in the real world, which is what has a dramatic character, it must be recognized.” Geraldine Giraudeau

  • Have :”

    The nations of the water“, documentary by Géraldine Giraudeau, freely viewable on YouTube.

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