Global Citizen Prize: Citizen Award Samoa Winner Brianna Fruean and COP26 President Alok Sharma united Monday over Instagram to speak live to thousands of Global Citizens, discussing in depth the Pacific's climate challenges, the importance of youth activists, and the urgent need for global action.

Fruean, a lifelong activist, started the conversation by discussing her attendance and address at the United Nations Climate Conference (COP26) last November. 

"It was quite an experience being in Glasgow; it was one of mixed emotions for a lot of activists. It was a challenging space to be in, but we showed up anyway because the work is important," she told Sharma, a current British politician, who was joining live from Canberra.

"You made an amazing speech, one that talked from the heart," Sharma told Fruean in response.  

Eight months on from COP26, Sharma says progress has been made. 

The key goal of the summit — to keep a temperature rise limit of 1.5 degrees, as defined by the Paris climate agreement, within reach — has been “kept alive,” he said, before revealing that 90% of the global economy is now covered by net-zero emissions targets, against less than 30% a year prior.

Still, he explained, more must be done.

"There's a lot to do over the next four months, so countries come forward with more ambition," Sharma said. "The world will be watching, and you, I, and others will be asking the questions 'Where are you? Where are those commitments?' We've made progress, but we need to quicken the pace."

The discussion then turned to the power of youth activists, after Global Citizen asked Fruean and Sharma what they would say to those watching.

"We need more hands, more voices," Fruean replied. "The biggest misconception about climate change is that we have time. We don't have time, and when we don't have time, we need all the help we can get. You can visit Global Citizen's website to learn more and upskill yourself."

Sharma echoed Fruean and praised the work of Global Citizen.

"I've got to know this organization over the past couple of years," he said. "They do great work raising awareness of climate issues and poverty. When I go around the world and talk to young people and civil society groups, what is clear is that everyone wants to make a difference in tackling climate change."

Sharma continued: "If all of us play our small part, it adds to something really big."

By visiting Global Citizen's Climate Action NOW page, you can take action by calling on governments, philanthropists, businesses, and other leaders to keep fossil fuels in the ground and support climate-vulnerable communities. You can also learn more about how the world's poorest people are disproportionately impacted and why climate change is a gender issue. 

Global Citizen's Oceania region is working on getting the newly-elected Australian Government to make bold new commitments to reduce emissions by 2030 and increase climate financing before the next COP Summit, COP27, in Egypt this November.

Call on Australian leaders to step up here.

Global Citizen Life

Defend the Planet

COP26 President Alok Sharma and Climate Activist Brianna Fruean Unite Live Over Instagram

By Madeleine Keck