Tuvalu To Become First Digital Nation As Island Is At Risk Of Sinking

Tuvalu, an island nation in the Pacific halfway between Hawaii and Australia, is one of the least visited places on earth. But it’s also one of the most vulnerable to climate change.

Rising sea levels mean that the country’s small land mass is at risk of sinking. This is because Tuvalu’s land is particularly low-lying.

Current projections suggest that half of the country’s capital could be flooded within 30 years. By the end of the century, 95% of the country might be underwater, making it inhabitable to its current 12,000 strong population.


Tuvalu’s Protective Measures


In order to slow these threats, Tuvalu has already started building coastal resilience on some of its islands.

In 2017, the country launched the Tuvalu Coastal Adaptation Project in partnership with the UN Development Programme’s Green Climate Fund.

Through the fund, the country has already started adopting a number of preventative strategies. One of these involves using sediment to create new land and delay erosion.

But whilst strategies are likely to be a short-term fix, so the country is busy preparing some longer term solutions.


The Future Now Project


On top of its physical adaptations, Tuvalu is also looking at ways to preserve its nation and culture digitally.

The Future Now project was launched with a few different initiatives, these include:


1. International Cooperation


The first initiative calls upon other countries to help combat climate change on a global level. As the country itself is so small, it has admitted that it needs other countries to adopt a shared responsibility to address climate change and the sea level rise that might result from it.

Only if we all work together will islands like Tuvalu be able to slow the devastating effects of climate change.


2. Securing Borders


The second initiative is about protecting Tuvalu’s borders even if the country disappears underwater.

The project aims to ensure that even if Tuvalu’s land is to be lost, the country’s boundaries will remain and it will still be recognised as a nation.


3. Protecting The Nation


The third initiative exists to answer the question: if the borders remain without land, how can Tuvalu act as a nation with no physical country?

This is where the idea of a digital nation has been born, solidifying Tuvalu as a country even if it disappears underwater.



Creating A Digital Country

The concept of a digital country means transferring government, heritage and history to the cloud.

The country has already started this process by creating a detailed 3D scan of the entire country, and transferring it online.

Through a central digital location, Tuvalu’s government will still be able to serve its population, even if they are living in different places around the world. Part of the plan is using technology like virtual and augmented reality to allow future Tuvaluans to experience the country and its diverse history, even after it no longer physically exists.

This digital preservation will include everything from language and knowledge to history and geography, to ensure Tuvalu’s culture is not lost.




The creation of the first digital nation comes with a number of social and political challenges, not to mention technical ones.

However, the government is determined to ensure that the nation is not lost, and is working hard to encourage the international community to recognise a digital state.

How this plays out could have interesting implications for other countries which will eventually also be affected by climate change, making it an interesting case study for the future of humanity.


A Digital Pioneer


Tuvalu is leading the charge when it comes to how countries could react to climate change and land loss.

Its approach to preserve not only its land, but its culture too is an innovative approach to combatting the effects of climate change.

However, it’s only if countries are able to work together that we will collectively help countries like Tuvalu withstand the effects of climate change. Ultimately, the fate on this Island nation rests on all of us.