Explore

Learn More about the beautiful country of Tuvalu

What's happening in Tuvalu?

Have you ever imagined what would happen if the place you call home disappeared from the face of the earth? Would you be willing to give up everything you know for a situation you cannot control? I wish I could say that these questions are mere assumptions, fictitious constructions; however, there are people who have had to ask these questions for more than 50 years and have had to face reality. Meet Tuvalu, the country that is on the verge of extinction thanks to the lack of human action.

Have you ever imagined what would happen if the place you call home disappeared from the face of the earth? Would you be willing to give up everything you know for a situation you cannot control? I wish I could say that these questions are mere assumptions, fictitious constructions; however, there are people who have had to ask these questions for more than 50 years and have had to face reality. Meet Tuvalu, the country that is on the verge of extinction thanks to the lack of human action.

"People living on the atolls like Tuvalu are among the world's most threatened populations."

= Enele Sopoaga, former prime minister of Tuvalu

Tuvalu: a hidden paradise under climate crisis

Tuvalu is an island country belonging to the continent of Oceania located in the Pacific Ocean, halfway between Australia and Hawaii. The country is made up of nine islands, six of which are atolls. We need to start trusting in our capacity of bringing this nation out of all the problems it suffers, as a consequence of our own actions. We need to stop losing battles against ourselves.

Economically, it should be noted that Tuvalu is one of the poorest countries in the world, with a net worth of US$36 million, and an income of US$3,048 per capita. The economy is supported by five main pillars: the sale of stamps and stamps with sketches of typical aspects of the country, the acquisition of the .tv domain, fishing (which accounts for 50 per cent of the country’s total exports, earning approximately US$2 million), pig and poultry farming, and tourism.

But, the most alarming statistic about Tuvalu is that of being the country that shows the greatest impact on the environmental problem of climate change due to the rising sea levels (increasing by four millimetres each year), with an estimated island life of less than 50 years if effective action is not taken according to the scientific community of the United Nations.

"We are [...] the last generation that can take steps to avoid the worst impacts of climate change."

– Ban Ki-Moon, former UN secretary-general

Climate change threatens the country

As the atolls are practically above sea level and their highest point is 5 metres, all citizens’ homes and architecture in general are under threat as the city is constantly being flooded, causing damage. Although citizens have used various methods to protect themselves (such as barriers made of rock or stacked sandbags) this has not been enough, they have not successfully stopped the floods. This has resulted in the country having to import more and more building materials such as roofs, sheets, copper and columns from developed countries, which account for about 30% of the country’s total imports (about 10 million dollars are earmarked for this purpose).

Consequently,  it is not possible to speak of the existence of sufficient basic services for citizens. Overpopulation, economic backwardness, poverty and lack of resources mean that more than half the population does not have the necessary income to be able to satisfy all their day-to-day services (water, electricity, education, livelihood and recreation) and have to resort to choosing between paying for one service or paying for another that is perhaps more important for staying afloat. It is important to mention that Tuvalu’s traditional social and cultural system, in which all those in need are served, is beginning to crumble as the demand for income influences the country. This is undermining the traditional social and economic subsistence lifestyles that Tuvalu once supported.