Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere

As I began getting into each of the 17 SDGS, I found myself struggling with the sheer weight of some of the goals – particularly this very first one. So, I spoke with my team at ANITA MENDIRATTA & Associates. Anita, President and Founder of AM&A, told me to be honest (as I was in the intro piece) – I should share my struggles, share my revelations, and don’t be afraid to admit when I just have no idea what to do. I found that this released me in a way, and allowed me to approach the goals in both naivety and an eagerness to learn and understand.

I suspect I am not the only one that looks at some of the SDGs and wonders “how can I, as one person, possibly make a difference?” Which is why, as we continue this journey together, I hope you’ll find patience in my own learning evolution, enabling you too to learn lessons from the supportive voices at AM&A.

goal 1: no poverty

 

The first goal of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals is No Poverty. What a colossal goal to start our Living the SDGs journey. It being #1 is, however, not by chance. According to the United Nations, as of 2019 there are over 700 million people worldwide living in extreme poverty – that’s 1 out of 10 of us and 1 out of 5 children. How, in our ever-advancing world, can this be? And how do you even begin to make actionable changes to lift 700 million people out of poverty? 

When I first began thinking about Goal 1, and what it instinctively means to me, I found that I clearly associated the word ‘poverty’ with someone who is ‘poor’. It’s an easy association to make, especially when you read that those living in extreme poverty survive on less than $1.90 a day. That’s less than $60 a month, about the same amount I spent at the grocery store yesterday for food – some we didn’t even need. 

But, poverty isn’t as simple as a distinction between people who have money and people who don’t. Technically speaking, and according to The World Bank Group, it is described in this way:

“Poverty is hunger. Poverty is lack of shelter. Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not having access to school and not knowing how to read. Poverty is not having a job, is fear for the future, living one day at a time.”

Importantly, poverty can exist simply because you were born in a certain area of the world or because you don’t have access to clean water. Poverty can happen as a result of social or gender inequality or even a lack of healthcare access. Most of the families living in poverty are employed, and work arduously long hours, and still barely survive. It may surprise you that 8% of employed workers and their families live in extreme poverty. That means over 80% of people in this situation spend their every waking hour trying to get out of it – to no avail. 

How do you measure poverty?

I read articles all the time about people in the US or UK who are living in poverty, and I’ve seen it first-hand in London, but the stories we read are still a far cry from those in developing countries where there is mass starvation, no access to education, no sanitation, ect. (Not saying one is more worthy than the other, poverty and the inequalities closer to home are still extremely important to address.) How is poverty measured? 

In 1995, the United Nations adopted two definitions of poverty. 

Absolute poverty is defined as : a condition characterised by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information. It depends not only on income but also on access to services. 

Absolute poverty often comes with starvation, suffering, and premature death and is an urgent call to action. 

Overall poverty is defined more broadly: lack of income and productive resources to ensure sustainable livelihoods; hunger and malnutrition; ill health; limited or lack of access to education and other basic services; increased morbidity and mortality from illness; homelessness and inadequate housing; unsafe environments and social discrimination and exclusion. It is also characterised by lack of participation in decision making and in civil, social and cultural life. It occurs in all countries: as mass poverty in many developing countries, pockets of poverty amid wealth in developed countries, loss of livelihoods as a result of economic recession, sudden poverty as a result of disaster or conflict, the poverty of low-wage workers, and the utter destitution of people who fall outside family support systems, social institutions and safety nets.

Otherwise, those who are not living in the minimum acceptable standards within the society they live.

How would you eliminate poverty?

So, this brings back to my core question: how can I, as one person, help achieve SDG #1 – No Poverty?

I’ve been reaching out to my friends in the travel community, asking them a very simple question. If you were in charge and had the power to eliminate poverty, what steps would you take? What initiatives would you start? How would you make ‘no poverty’ a reality?

As you might expect, I had a variety of responses – from blank stares to laughter, but for some of those I asked – the question was heavy. I could see the cogs turning, the creative juices flowing, and these participants in my social survey came out with some truly inspiring ideas. 

The truth is, it’s really a complicated question. You can’t just decide to lift up one group of people without considering the others. Many people responded with ‘provide women in poverty with skills and education’, which I find entirely logical. That was until a friend who lives in Morocco shared with me that women empowerment initiatives were gaining steam in her country, but nobody was working on encouraging the local boys to support them as well. When girls from the programs got married, they didn’t have the same support system in place that was being pushed elsewhere and the problem wasn’t being solved.

Not so simple after all.

Actionable Ways for Individuals to End Poverty

My social survey came up with some interesting ideas for eradicating poverty, some more far-fetched than others. Abolish all borders, provide equal access to education, buy local, add more libraries, create a course for any would-be travellers to help them understand that we are all the same – only our cultures and customs differ. 

Some took it even further with suggestions such as simplifying setup of and reducing tariffs for local business registration. Making it easier, and encouraging, for locals to get involved with increased tourism. Or adding a tourism sustainability metric to websites like Tripadvisor, so tourists can make more informed travel decisions and make sure their purchases and travels support the local economies they visit. (A brilliant idea actually!)  

While my q&a with my peers didn’t provide me with the secret answer to eliminating poverty to pass on to you, it did teach me a couple things:

First, so many more people care than you’d think. They may not even realise it themselves. Some of those I asked looked at me like I had asked how I could get to the moon on the city bus.This was almost always followed by careful consideration and a very thoughtful answer. 

Secondly, we don’t often walk around asking big questions as conversation starters. But maybe we should. After the initial discomfort, I had some truly inspiring conversations with people. Others loved it from the word go, and were excited to stop the small talk and discuss global issues that matter – hypothetical or otherwise. 

1. Let’s talk about poverty (and everything else!)

Have the ‘weird’ conversations. Don’t be afraid to ask people their opinions on topics that matter to you. They may have insight into something you had never considered, and you can take the opportunity to educate others. 

The more I get into the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, the more I feel the stats heavy on my soul. I say that as lightly and honest as I can, but the truth is I take this project very seriously and that means taking on the responsibility of my words. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die EVERY DAY due to poverty. Just let that sink in for a minute. I can’t save 22,000 children from dying every single day on my own, trust me,I’ve mulled over the possibilities. But I can have the conversation. 

I can hear you saying “poverty is not the best networking topic”, but why not? I’ve done the legwork for you – it works. Sure, not every person, particularly those you’ve never met before, will meet you half-way. Most will. If you don’t want to discuss global issues in a socially constrained scenario, talk to your friends and your family.  Give others the benefit of the doubt, take the leap, most of us want the world to be a better place. Let’s bring our voices together. Let’s talk about diversity, accessibility, privilege, and using our travels to make a difference. 

 Every conversation plants a seed, and those seeds can grow into action. 

2. Empower local communities when you travel

How many trips do you take a year? Working within the travel industry, I probably have a slightly skewed view of the average. But let’s say you take one trip abroad every year. How do make sure every dollar you spend supports locals in that economy? 

We need to ask the questions:

  • How do you ensure that those souvenirs at the market are supporting local craftsmen and were not imported from elsewhere? 
  • How do you know whether that village a tour group is taking you to is empowering the people or suffocating them?

These aren’t trick questions. As we become more and more conscious of travelling responsibly, we need to do our research. It can be done, and it can make a big difference. 

Ensuring our holiday money supports those wages, especially as a collective group of global citizens on a mission for change, could be life-changing. According to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development), a 10 per cent increase in a country’s average income will reduce the poverty rate by between 20 and 30 per cent. 

Here are some easy tips for empowering local communities when we travel:

  • Most big companies should have a responsible tourism policy. Look it up. If you can’t find it, ask before you book. 
  • Do your research. Take the time to read up on different cultures and activities in the region, particularly if you are visiting indigenous tribes or impoverished areas. Don’t wait until you’ve already paid and visited to realise you’ve made an unethical choice. 
  • Hire local guides and tour companies. Read reviews online, email ahead of time to ask how they use the money/support the communities you’ll be visiting.
  • Purchasing souvenirs should be stimulating for the economy, respectful of locals and leave a neutral impact. (ie don’t buy rare collectibles important to the nation’s heritage, animal/natural products that shouldn’t leave.) Many destinations have local cooperatives or artisan workshops where you can buy directly from the person who made it. If you can’t find these, ask questions. 

3. Don’t forget local poverty

When discussing global poverty, it is typically the ‘absolute poverty’ we imagine. Emotive charity advertising has ingrained imagery of starving children living in faraway places in the minds of anyone with a television. Those commercials are often our first exposure to poverty in the west. But consider these stats.

  • 12.7% of Americans live in poverty, approximately 40.6 million people (The metrics for measuring poverty in this case are based on income.)
  • More than 4 million people in the UK live in deep poverty, with an income level 50% or more below the poverty line threshold. 

These families may attend the same schools as your children and live in the same community, but they are struggling. 

I always find travelling in developing countries incredibly humbling. You quickly appreciate your ability to buy food just because you want to try it, to have hot running water in your hotel room every evening, and your freedom to go back to the ‘luxuries’ of home. 

But, it’s important to remember that not everyone around you has the same access. The battle against poverty can be happening right next door, literally.

In London (I use this example as it’s my home), many families struggle to feed their children during the summer holidays. Typically children get free meals during school time and when they aren’t going to school, they aren’t getting food. Last year alone, the UK’s biggest food bank gave away 1.6 million packs of food supplies – a 19% annual increase from 2017.  There are next to no affordable childcare provisions for children above nursery age, putting an even bigger strain on working parents. When there is no childcare available, parents are forced to leave their kids at home which can lead to gangs or crime, leaving early from education, and cyclical poverty over generations. 

My point of all this is that we don’t need to travel in order to end poverty. There’s work we can do close to home as well. So, what action can we take?

 

  • Don’t waste food. One-third of food produced around the world goes to waste. I am so guilty of this and it’s an area I need to work on. If you have food in your kitchen that you know you aren’t going to eat, there are dozens of food waste apps now that connect you with local people who want it. Also, food waste is also responsible for 6-10% of greenhouse gases. Be more mindful of the food you buy and consume it responsibly. For those who spent their day choosing between paying to keep the electricity on or buying breakfast for their family, every bite matters.
  • Support local charities. Whether by volunteering your time or donating money, support the charities in your local community who work with those living in poverty. Programs that support education and training, provide after-school care, help with housing, or provide food are all great choices. Most organisations are overjoyed to have support in anyway that you can provide it. 
  • Freecycle your stuff. I’ve been trying to walk the walk in my own life, slowly making small changes that I hope will contribute the SDGs. A few weeks ago instead of selling off things one by one for pocket change, I gave away an almost-new crib, two years worth of baby clothes, and buckets of toys on a local Facebook group. It all went to a young mother who was almost due but had no means to buy the ‘extras’ for her child. It cost me nothing and was all items that I was no longer using. For her it was priceless and it gave her one less thing to worry about. 

Is ending poverty too BIG?

There is hope. 36% of the world’s population lived in poverty in 1990. As of 2019, The United Nations estimates that it is now closer to 8.6%. That is undeniable progress, which happened through cooperation and action over the last few decades. (Read about the history of the SDGs here to understand the legacy.) 

One child starving to death today is one too many. One woman forced to walk five miles for a clean bucket of water is too many.There are still too many people dying, too many people struggling, in a world of shocking inequality.

I’m under no illusion that I’ll solve poverty by wasting less food, travelling more responsibly, or talking about important global issues with my friends. But just as the SDGs cannot work alone, neither can we. If we all begin making these micro changes, amplifying our voices, and joining together in purpose – the poverty scale will begin to shift.

Ending poverty is big, but it isn’t too big. We are bigger. And we can do better. We outnumber poverty 9 to 1. It’s time to bring to life, and lives, the real difference just one person – you – can make.

Please comment below and share actionable ways that YOU think we can use to end poverty.  

I’d like to invite you to take this journey with me, and AM&A, as I explore the 17 sustainable development goals. Each month we’ll focus on one goal and explore actionable ways that we as individuals can change the world. 

Let’s #MakeTravelMatter

HUSSSSSHHHH. PROTECTING AND RESPECTING THE POWER OF TRAVEL PILGRIMAGE

There’s something very different about an attraction versus a place of pilgrimage.

Yes, both can be icons immediately identifying a place, a people.

Yes, both attract visitors, often numbering in their millions.

Yes, both require preplanning, often involving tour guides and groups to be able to gain access, to get around.

Yes, both have the potential to be powerful source of valuable tourist dollars, or pounds, or rupees, or rubles, or any other currency.

And yes, both have the ability to offer visitors invaluable insights through rich storytelling – their reason for being, their well disguised yet profoundly important details, their role in the greater scheme of things.

Which is why as a traveller it is so easy to get busy booking a visit to an attraction, the thought of logistics distracting from what is lingering so close below the surface – its power as a sacred place. Until one comes face to face with one of these places. The number in the world is few, yet when seen, when felt, there is no question about its unique classification.

Case in point: the DMZ – the still active, 38th parallel, 200km long and 2km wide demilitarised zone between North and South Korea – the world’s last remnant of the Cold War, and front line of enduring threat of conflict yet prayers for peace.

Less than a two hour drive from the Republic of Korea’s capital city, the significance and seriousness of a visit to the DMZ begins to set in before leaving Seoul. The list of ‘must’ s and ‘must not’s is short, but clear: passports are a must, respectable clothing is a must, signing off a waiver in case of unexpected cross-border hostilities or contact with mines is a must, restrained communication is a must, photos in military zones are a must not unless given the all-clear. Careless, politically associated hand gestures and comments are a must not. Wandering off is a must not. Taking the direction of Security Escorts is a must. These are not tour guides, they are UN-assigned, conflict trained, armed officers. Respect is a must.

Suddenly, visibly and audibly, the chemistry of the group changes. Driving into the DMZ, passing through well reinforced security gates manned by well-armed officers, only the sound of the official UN bus engine can be heard. The quiet is broken only by injections of information by the Security Escort: how far we are from the border of North Korea, how many people work in the DMZ, how many pre-war descendant families live in the DMZ, how many hectares of rice fields farmers are given if they live in the DMZ compared to those outside (17 vs 2), how many mines still lay hidden in the deep grasses around us (thousands).

And then we arrive. Ground zero: JSA – the Joint Security Area.

Sacred has a colour: Hex #5b92e5, also known as UN Blue.

Sacred stirs a reaction, an almost primal reaction. Hussssssshhhhhhh.

Suddenly the spirit of entitlement that tourists often have having paid for the right to control the where, what, when and how of travel evaporates. The ‘here & now’ transcends all else. There is nothing else that matters.

Because here it is, here, right in front of us – the line that marks separation between the two Koreas. The place where, 66 years ago, where the UN overlooked an armistice signed by North and South Korea which ended the Korean War. The place where, months ago, the leaders of the two Koreas shook hands in hopes of denuclearisation and unification. The place where the sight of UN Blue symbolises enduring hope that the history books may one day, hopefully one day, write a final chapter of peace, unity and forgiveness.

To see the place seen so many times before on a television or mobile screen, to reflect on its detail, is one thing. To feel it, however, is quite another. To try to describe it is to realise one has lost their ability to speak. There are no words – only sounds, only tears.

Hussssshhhhhhh.

Humility mutes all conversation. It’s haunting. And it’s disturbing, in a really good way. Here is where history was, and continues to be, made. Here is where horror and hurt, hardship and hunger, healing and hope all collide. Here is where we are reminded, vividly and voicelessly, the blessing that we have of being able to see completely different world that reveals to us, raw and real-time, the gift of peace.

This is what separates an attraction from a place of pilgrimage.

The intensity of the meaning of this place of pilgrimage is made clear by the fact that, in these times of selfies and see-me-here, photographs actually don’t matter. Vivid captures  are embossed in mind and heart while standing still in silence, knowing that you can’t actually capture what you’re seeing and feeling with a simple frame.

It’s about standing in the sun on a dry wooden blue bridge the one that connects North and South Korea shutting your eyes and just listening to the sound of crickets somewhere nearby. It’s about feeling the warmth of the Fall sun showering down, noticing tiny little droplets of water on overgrown grasses that once, only 50 years ago, hid soldiers still in their teens, ready to die for love of country. It’s the smell of pine trees. Here is where learning rises above leverage, where respect rises above rights, where silence rises above soundbytes and selfies.

The same is felt standing at the door of cell 46664 on Robben Island. The same is felt at the `Door of No Return’ in Ghana. The same is felt in but a handful of locations across the globe – places where meaning means more than holiday memories.

These are the moments when tourism becomes sacred, and when sustainability is about protecting and sustaining the spiritual value of a place, not just its economic, social, cultural, or environmental.

Because while one can put tourism infrastructure and policies in place to maximise the commercial opportunity of attractions, there are some places where commerce has no place.

Their power, their richness, is in the husssssshhhhhhhhh.

Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2019

 

CLIMATE ACTION/SDG 13 – INSPIRING ACTION THROUGH UNDERSTANDING, NOT SHAMING

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) takes place each year in September in New York City. Uniting 193 Member States, the UNGA is, as stated by the UN, a “unique forum to discuss and work together on a wide array of international issues covered by the UN Charter, such as development, peace and security, international law, etc.”

For just under 10 days, this coming together of international leaders puts at the forefront the critical issues that we are facing in our shared world today – issues that are going to either accelerate, or challenge, our ability is one shared global community to move forward, lifting up the baseline so that all can feel a valued, contri​b​u​t​ing part of a world in which we are all working towards ensuring longterm social, economic, environmental and spiritual growth and development.

Ultimately, we need to look at the UNGA as a way of mobilising an annual global call to action.

Interestingly, and often, an individual takes the face of the UNGA, becoming the primary messenger of the UNGA’s central message.  In 2019 there’s no question about who this individual will be. Her identity, and impact, is already well known across the world: Sweden’s young Greta Thunberg who has, with great courage, great conviction, and yet remarkable youth stood up and mobilized an entire generation, the next generation to moving forward as regards climate action.

Greta has become an iconic, invaluable figure for the world in terms of recognising that now, right now, decision makers must make sure that we recalibrate our actions, taking responsibility for decisions that need to be made today that will have a direct impact on our world tomorrow, especially the future of the young people who are increasingly sensitised to the fact that failure to do so will unleash untold damage to their future and the world around them.

Young Greta, making her way to the UNGA across the Atlantic, arrived into the US just a handful of days ago. Rather than flying from her homeland of Sweden to the US, follow​i​ng 15 days at sea she arrived in on a solar-powered sailboat, sailing into the immense sights and crowds of New York. In doing so, she carries a very important message about climate action that indeed we must all start acting. Now.

That message, however, has the risk of being oversimplified by looking at it simply as her having not taken an aircraft. Climate Action, her core message, goes beyond a form of transport. However, her activism risks drawing attention to hooks able to draw in attention and amplification, as sadly demonstrated by The Wall Street Journal, messaging out to the world that “as the 16-year-old poster child for younger generations’ climate angst, also making its way to the New World, as evidenced in the coverage of her carbon-neutral trip, was a concept that in just a few years has swept Europe: flight shame, often hashtagged in the original Swedish, #flygskam.”

The holistic message of Greta is critical: Climate Action (SDG13) needs to start now. Impact of it positively needs to happen now.

However, in today’s day and age of of social media, of hashtag activism, the heart of her wider message is being translated into a hurtful economic, social and environmental one with significant, negative consequences on the global community’s quest for sustainable global develo​p​ment. This, one cannot believe, was her intention, It may, however, result in its effect

The hashtag that many are applying to her and to her cause is #flightshame.

Yes, aviation is the source of carbon emissions, 2% of global emissions, that are indeed having a negative impact on the environment. This truth is not, however, one being lazily accepted by the global aviation community. Quite the opposite. For several years by the global aviation community has been investing exponential amounts of funding and intellect towards finding solutions to reduce and eliminate emissions to ensure that the growth of aviation occurs in a way that is responsible, and sustainable.

Critically, it must be understood: Aviation it not the problem – emissions are.

For this reason, formal, binding commitments have been made by nations and across the entire aviation value chain. Central to this is airlines.

Championed by IATA, the global trade association for 290 of the world’s airlines with membership representing 82% of total air traffic, aviation leaders are acutely aware of the need to take action, now, on the global challenge of climate change. For this reason they have “adopted a set of ambitious targets to mitigate CO2 emissions from air transport:

  • An average improvement in fuel efficiency of 1.5% per year from 2009 to 2020
  • A cap on net aviation CO2 emissions from 2020 (carbon-neutral growth)
  • A reduction in net aviation CO2 emissions of 50% by 2050, relative to 2005 levels 

A multi-faceted approach: the four-pillar strategy

IATA is determined to be part of the solution but insists that, in order to achieve these targets, a strong commitment is required from all stakeholders working together through the four pillars of the aviation industry strategy:

  • Improved technology, including the deployment of sustainable low-carbon fuels
  • More efficient aircraft operations
  • Infrastructure improvements, including modernized air traffic management systems
  • A single global market-based measure, to fill the remaining emissions gap” 

https://www.iata.org/policy/environment/Pages/climate-change.aspx

Aviation is actively, collectively and measurably making sure that it is uplifting the global impact of its overall economic drive in a way that is not doing any environmental damage.

Again, it must be understood: Aviation it not the problem – emissions are.

Our world needs aviation.

Why? Because global travel, trade and tourism rely on opportunity creation delivered through global skies.

We must must never forget that 65 million people around the world are employed through aviation. Every single day 120,000 flights take off carrying 12 million passengers and unlocking 18.8 billion and global trade.

And then there is tourism – a sector that inspired over 1.4 billion people each year to cross international borders to learn, explore, discover. In so doing, greater understanding is established, central to embedding respect and peace across people and places, across faiths, cultures, generations and ideologies. With this Travel & Tourism supports one in 10 jobs (319 million) worldwide, unlocking 10.4% (US$8.8 trillion) of world GDP.

These metrics are vital to global growth and development, creating a strong global community in which all can participate indirectly and directly, indirectly through what tourism and trade generate across the world in terms of jobs, in terms of inclusivity and in terms of creating a stronger future. To simply hashtag and encourage people to stop flying is overtly encouraging people to stop the growth of aviation. This in turn stops the growth of the global economy, global society and its ability to positively impact the global environment through solutions for the benefit of all.

We live in a time today in which it’s very easy to pass judgment, whether it’s through flight shaming, whether making it clear that one would rather eat a veggie burger than having real beef, or making a fuss over a reusable alternative to plastic.

It’s very easy to turn these personal beliefs and behaviours into finger-pointing around those of others. We cannot live in a society in which our approach to global development is increasingly becoming about turning to the person next to us, looking at what they are doing, and then telling them what they are doing is wrong. This cannot be right.

Everything we do, every day, has a ripple effect – positive and negative. Are changes needed to many of today’s actions to accelerate climate action? Yes, but through inspiration, not accusation.

That is why the global community is focused on, specifically, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to look at the 17 avenues through which we – governments, industries, individuals – can promote development of our global community socially, economically, environmentally, culturally and spiritually. We need to look at these avenues as ways of improving the way in which we live together. https://anitamendiratta.com/blog/sdgs/ We cannot look at the SDGs as 17 as ways of pointing figure fingers and telling people that what they are doing is wrong.

Please, please please ensure that when we look at what how the world is responding to young heroes like Greta (and often unsung heroes that are doing significant things to create significant change, including industries like Aviation working to create positive change), we recognise their efforts to be part of the solution. Firm focus forward on how we can all become part of the solution is needed, not overzealous blame of others for the problem.

The 2019 UNGA is our opportunity to first understand the bigger picture of the world’s workplan – the UN SDGs) – and then identify and commit to how all of our actions, even the smallest, can ensure that we are working towards creating a better world for all.

No one should be left to feel judged or in jeopardy of job loss, in this or future generations. No one can be left behind. x

 

Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2019

UNWTO Special Advisor Anita Mendiratta appointed to the Board of Tourism Cares

UNWTO Special Advisor Anita Mendiratta appointed to the Board of Tourism Cares

London, United Kingdom – 9th August, 2019

Tourism Cares, a leading US-based philanthropic body of the travel and tourism sector with over 15yrs of proven global experience leveraging the power of the industry to activate social impact programmes in tourism-based communities worldwide – has announced that Anita Mendiratta, Founder and President of ANITA MENDIRATTA & Associates, has joined its Board of Directors. 

A trusted strategist in Tourism, Aviation and Development working closely with leaders in governments, businesses, and international organisations, Anita is also Special Advisor to UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili. Her expertise in the areas of national growth, development, and recovery is expected to contribute significantly to Tourism Care’s social impact strategy and activations, including alignment to the UN SDGs. 

In announcing Anita’s appointment, Chairperson of the Board Carolyn Cauceglia (VP Strategic Sales & Account Management at technology solutions firm Amadeus) stated: “We are delighted to share that Anita Mendiratta has joined the Board of Directors of Tourism Cares. Anita’s talent, energy and passion for our industry is contagious. Her deep knowledge of international business, governments, global tourism, sustainability, strategy and leadership coupled with a unique ability to bridge and break through compliments our vision of mobilizing travel and tourism companies’ collective power to ensure lasting impact for destinations in need.“ 

An active advocate of Tourism Cares for several years, Anita believes firmly in its value as a powerful vehicle for industry to work more closely with local communities to embed the principles and practices central to the development of their tourism as a vehicle for responsible, equitable growth and development.

Increasingly, both travellers and the tourism community are looking for ways to make a direct, positive impact on the world we are blessed to discover through our travels. Tourism Cares has invaluable experience in educating, inspiring and mobilising the travel industry in how to connect its people, its sense of purpose and its resources to social impact programmes that are meaningful and measurable. To be a part of the Tourism Cares Board is not only a huge honour, it is a responsibility I take very personally.

WHAT EXACTLY ARE THE SDGs? GOING BACK TO THE BEGINNING.

WHAT EXACTLY ARE THE SDGs? GOING BACK TO THE BEGINNING.

Give me a lever and a place to stand and I will move the earth.” Archimedes

ANITA MENDIRATTA & Associates, the Tourism & Development firm  where I work in marketing and digital media, has embarked on an exciting project that I am incredibly excited to lead.

 As I mentioned in my introductory post, the ‘Living the SDGs’ journey is all about taking the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and translating them into actionable ways that we, as individuals, can contribute to making the world a better place. Especially as we travel.

Before we get started talking about the specific SDGs and how we can apply them to everyday life, and everywhere travels, I thought it would be beneficial to look at the goals as a whole. The most important reason being that themust work together. Therefore we must understand the SDGs as collective before we begin breaking them down.  

So, let’s get started.

what are the sustainable development goals (SDGs)?

To look forward we actually need to look back. Trust me – it will be worth the reading. 

While there are a number of UN initiatives that work to connect the world around how we can all grow, and develop, for good for the long-term I am going to focus on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that were established in 2000  – eight global goals that seek to shift the needle worldwide on critical development issues from halving extreme poverty rates to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS, not to mention providing universal primary education…all by 2015. In September 2015 when the UN reached the deadline of the MDGs a new target for global wellbeing was set: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This was adopted after two years of research to establish what was needed to create the ‘Future We Want’ in terms of health, safety, security, unity, environmental protection and elimination of poverty. After much dialogue, debate and really drilling down, 17 Sustainable Development Goals became the core of the agenda, with their 169 supporting  targets that help define how each goal can be implemented. 

The SDGs are a master-plan, a to-do list, an urgent call-to-action, for the world. There are 17 Global Goals (see all of them here) that work hand-in-hand to create a peaceful, inclusive, responsible and prosperous present and future for everyone on the planet. ‘Everyone’ is an important part of these grand ambitions. More on this later.

Why were the SDGs created?

Technically speaking, the seeds of the SDGs go back to what is called ‘Agenda 21’, adopted in 1992 to improve lives and protect the environment. 

The second big initiative was the Millenium Declaration, adopted in 2000. The MDGs (mentioned earlier) were hugely successful and proved that such initiatives could create change, but they were driven mainly by high-income countries and large donor agencies. 

Some of the biggest achievements to come from the MDGs included reducing global extreme poverty by half, 2.6 billion people gained access to improved drinking water, and two-thirds of developing countries achieved gender parity in primary education. The UN said that the MDGs were “the most successful anti-poverty movement in history.”

While the MDGs were proof that working together to achieve a set of priorities could create change, the SDGs were created to build on their success and expand their vision. 

Importantly, the SDGs are much more universal than the predecessors. They apply to low-income countries as much as they do high-income countries. The goals focus on all key components of a sustainable future, rather than just on one core issue.  Human rights, inclusivity and equality are at the forefront, ensuring nobody gets left behind. 

Perhaps the biggest change is that the SDGs call on all global citizens – me and you – to join in and start thinking of ways that we can do something too. 

 

the sdgs call on us all

What an incredible idea! What I do every day is just as important to the future of this planet as the people of Germany or businesses like Amazon or icons like Sir Richard Branson. My efforts, your efforts, can and do make an impact. For the first time, everyone is asked to join the call to make sure that our impact is for a greater good.

The SDGs call on us all – young and old, near and far. They call on businesses to create strategies that commit to sustainability, strive to advance the SDGs, and encourage their employees to volunteer within the community. 

“The future of humanity and of our planet lies in our hands. It lies also in the hands of today’s younger generation who will pass the torch to future generations. We have mapped the road to sustainable development; it will be for all of us to ensure that the journey is successful and its gains irreversible.”

Paragraph 53, The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, UN

The universality of the goals means they also apply to all levels of government. From the UN Member States to city councils and school boards. For the former, their efforts are being measured and checked, and a SDG report is published annually on progress to date and areas where more action must be taken. 

And then there is us – the world’s travellers. In order for the SDGs to be a success, we all must come together, owning the impact we have. 

This belief goes to the highest levels in Tourism. As expressed by the Amb. Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the UN’s specialised agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism:

“The SDGs are a powerful way of ensuring all people, including you and me, are working together to create a safe, inclusive, sustainable world for all. As travellers, our impact goes far and wide. I am happy to take this journey with AM&A on this special project as they travel through the SDGs” 

-Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary General of the UNWTO

As the Secretary General says, we need to make sure this is a positive, sustainable, personal impact that we can be proud of. This starts by seeing how each and every one of the 17 SDGs is actually impacted by Tourism. 

 

it’s all about the goals

Goals are important for a reason. Think about it – we create goals all the time. We may not always accomplish them, but they set the focus. 

The SDGs have given everyone, literally everyone, a plan of action, a focus, that can change the world as we know it for the better, and for us all. If enough of the UN Member States, private businesses and individuals like us are taking actions to achieve the goals, it will inspire more to do the same. 

Importantly, goals are also contagious, and personally motivating. When someone we know goes from couch potato to marathon runner, we wonder if we should also exercise more. When a friend gets their Master’s Degree, we may think about whether pursuing further education would be beneficial to us as well. When that Facebook friend you haven’t spoken to in ten years is posting pictures from the front of their mini-mansion, we may wonder if we could be doing something to get one too. 

The SDGs by themselves can feel like just a nice list of ideals. But when we take those goals, and set our focus on achieving them, personally, through the power of one times billions, so much is possible. 

why now is critical

The SDGs provide hope in a world of conflict, inequalities, and uncertainty. Tomorrow may be too late, but today we can join together and work towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals to protect our future. We can’t wait any longer to take action. 

When I joined  ANITA MENDIRATTA & Associates and really began to understand how I, and my travels, could make a global difference through the SDGs, they really began to matter. I truly believe that maybe, just maybe, I can make a difference. Which is why I’m pledging to do my part, along with ANITA MENDIRATTA & Associates, by sharing and implementing actionable ways that we can be a part of the solution.

Join me. Together we can make a world of difference, we can #MakeTravelMatter

I’d like to invite you to take this journey with me, and AM&A, as I explore the 17 sustainable development goals. Each month we’ll focus on one goal and explore actionable ways that we as individuals can change the world. 

Let’s #MakeTravelMatter

CHANGING OF THE GUARD

 

 

 

 

 

11:00am, London time. 24 07 2019.

To look at any global news television screen at this precise moment one will see aerial coverage of Prime Minister Theresa May performing her final responsibilities in office:

  • final PMQ in Parliament
  • final address from 10 Downing Street
  • final visit to Buckingham Palace to see Her Majesty the Queen to submit her resignation
  • final wave to the cameras

all, no doubt, with a heavy heart. She did her best. Her work is done.

In parallel, an excited, freshly suited, soon to be appointed Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, waits with, no doubt, a strongly beating heart, all set to take on the role which millions across the UK and world have known he has longed for for all of his professional political life. His work is about to begin.

A generation ago, such moments of changing of the guard felt to unfold more slowly, more gently, more honourably. Saying goodbye to one leader prompted a toast, not a roast. Yet today, literally and figuratively, it can feel as though the revolving doors of leadership around the world are only too excited to feel the winds of change as the doors spins one out, one in. An idealistic assumption of times past which may in fact have been as aggressive as present? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

Whatever the case, so the analysis begins, or rather, continues…

Four hours on, the process of change complete as the Royal Standard blows in the wind high over Buckingham Palace signifying Her Majesty is in residences, and having received the outgoing and incoming Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom, the shift is felt. Leadership has changed.

A new chapter of the nation’s history is being written, Prime Minister Johnson is poised with pen firmly in hand, ready to start writing the story of the United Kingdom with his choice of instrument and prose. Unsurprisingly and understandably, in his creatively flowing mind, his first word will be “Finally!” His promise to the nation, clearly, confidently, with conviction, was first called out on the eve of his taking office in a self-declared campaign acronym rather overtly reflecting the ‘everyman working for everyman’, the ‘dude’, he enjoys being seen as: Deliver, Unite, Defeat, Energise. Message delivered. Acronym embedded: DUDE.

Clearly (even if ever so subtly), at times like these detail matters. Carefully, thoughtfully, often poetically and even cunningly, meaning goes beyond overtly spoken messages. Nuance can, in fact, speak louder than scripted words.

For Prime Minister May, now former Prime Minister May, she knew too well that her final words as the leader of the nation would be inscribed in the history books, her final speech her parting wish and prayer to the people who entrusted her to lead the nation through one of its most challenging times – challenges not only in politics, policies and personalities, but challenges in unity, harmony, decency and identity. Standing in front of 10 Downing Street, saying her farewell, her address would be the start of endless commentary, and criticism, of how she was able to perform in the land’s highest office. How will history judge her as a Conservative leader? As a Brexit leader? As a female leader? From whichever angle one chooses, it will be about judgment – open, unedited, colourful, sadly probably unthankful, judgment.

Former Prime Minister May’s final words were gentle, were grateful, were sincere, were without tears. Her words were clear. She is thankful to, and hopeful for, the people to whom she has had the honour of her life to serve.

As for the issue of future of the UK and its relationship with the EU, into this she refrained. Or did she?

There, in front of the iconic doorway of 10 Downing Street, she stood in her (presumably thought through) choice of departure suit: a tailored suit in distinctive blue, with a bold, chunky, gold connected-bauble (star?) necklace. Strategists could not help but smile at the choice – respectful salutes to the EU noted.

Was it a coincidence? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

Now, a further four hours on, with the flag above Buckingham Palace changed back to its summertime Union Flag, nods an acknowledgement of the fact that we must, as always, keep calm and carry on. However the guard may have changed, whoever may be the next head of state, we must always ensure that we are all – each and every one of us – guarding what is, in the end, truly valued.

Today and always, ‘leader‘ must always be honoured as a verb, not a noun. For one, and for all. x

 

Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2019

 

 

The SDGs – Who Cares? I do.

The SDGs – Who Cares? I do.

How do you start a journey? Wise men of the past have suggested that you begin with a first step, but I’d like to begin this one with a step back. 

First of all, I’m Jessica. (Great to meet you!)  I’m the Marketing Executive here at ANITA MENDIRATTA & Associates. I couldn’t tell you what that title actually means, as my role thus far has been unlike any marketing position I’ve ever had. Everyday brings new and exciting challenges, and while I’m still doing some of the more traditional marketing tasks for the business, some days I have the opportunity to contribute in ways, and be a part of a team, that makes a lasting impact on the world. 

Our firm, spearheaded by Anita Mendiratta, does this in a multitude of ways. From her role as the Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the UNWTO, to consulting with government leaders in tourism post-crisis, supporting CNN International in their support of the global tourism industry, and helping tourism organisations create more sustainable business models and brand identities. Whether working on assignments short- to medium-term, everything is focused on long-term development, an integral distinction because it doesn’t get all the glory as short-term results, but over time makes the biggest impact. 

I personally have worked within the tourism industry for years now and felt like I had a great grasp of the ins and outs and purpose behind what we do. Encouraging more people to see the world, getting them to book the trip, and importantly with my social media background, asking them to share their experiences with others on Facebook, Instagram, or the social platform of their choice. I always found the work I did in tourism extremely rewarding – particularly because I wanted others to enjoy seeing the world as much as I do. 

SHIFTING MY VIEW OF TOURISM

After joining AM&A, my understanding of tourism was completely shifted. For my first task as a new employee of the firm, Anita asked me to write a paper on the ‘20 Things I Didn’t Know About Tourism’. To be completely honest, I wondered what the point was. I’d spent years in the tourism industry, but assumed the assignment was more to get a grasp of my writing style than it was to actually teach me something. I figured I’d finish the paper and send it back within a couple of days, but I spent over a week pouring through the suggested resources, reports and data. By the time I sent back the finished assignment, I felt like I knew less than when I started. Walking through my report with Anita, and getting her perspective as a practitioner within the strategic (and especially diplomatic) tourism space, I began to see tourism less as a tourist taking a trip, and more as an economic sector that had the power to combat poverty, bring people from diverse backgrounds together, change a community’s future with new infrastructure and employment opportunities,  and even bring peace to the world. For the first time I began to see the big picture. 

The problem with seeing the big picture, is that it suddenly feels like something that one person couldn’t possibly have any effect on. Not by encouraging customers to visit Tenerife or book a city break, not by sharing beautiful destination images on Instagram to inspire, and not by travelling more this year – or could it? The disconnect between tourism on a higher level and travelling as a tourist became so clear to me, and I knew I needed to find a bridge to connect my two worlds. 

We have become increasingly more aware of the way we should or shouldn’t travel, that’s a fact. 41% of us consider social issues in a destination of real importance, and 58% choose not to visit a destination if they feel it will negatively impact the people who live there. (Study from Booking.com) The majority of us have stopped riding elephants, book tours and activities through local suppliers, and seek authentic experiences over top ten lists. But how do we make a difference? How can we shape employment opportunities in Nepal or healthcare infrastructure in Mali or make sure that the Greek family who has been working in tourism for three generations has access to the digital skills they need to keep up?

the sdgs: united nations sustainable development goals

As part of that introductory paper, Anita shared with me the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. They may or may not be known to you, but at the time, they were unknown to me. In 2015, all of the UN Member States adopted these 17 goals, which were to act as a blueprint for “peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.” Importantly they became a call-to-action, a checks and balances of sorts, a strategic framework for the global community as they make decisions leading up to 2030. She shared the SDGs for a reason: to give our work context. Even in tourism.

For some reason the SDG’s really stuck with me. I would love nothing more than to live in a world without poverty or hunger. For gender equality to be the norm and for all children to have access to a quality education and clean water. A world where climate change is taken seriously and its resources are protected for future generations. But, we don’t live in a perfect world and the success of the Sustainable Development Goals is dependent on the efforts of the UN Member States. While it’s positive to see global leaders take these goals seriously, how could I possibly contribute to such large-scale ideals as a traveller? 

These are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals:

GOAL 1: No Poverty

GOAL 2: Zero Hunger

GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being

GOAL 4: Quality Education

GOAL 5: Gender Equality

GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality

GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

GOAL 13: Climate Action

GOAL 14: Life Below Water

GOAL 15: Life on Land

GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions

GOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal

it’s time to bridge the gap

After discussing these ideas with the team, and sharing my frustrations, Anita decided that I would be a perfect ‘fit’ as our firms’ voice on getting the message out on why the SDGs matter to us all. My background in the more consumer side of tourism, and as a traveller myself, has shown me where and why we travel and how we make those decisions. My role here at AM&A exposes me to all of the political, economic, and diplomatic facets of tourism – it shows me jigsaw pieces of the big picture everyday. I’m now in a unique position to join them together, and the business provides the perfect platform for reaching both sides of the tourism aisle. 

It’s time to shift our views on tourism. As travellers particularly, we need to stop looking at tourism as something we do or where we go, and begin exploring why it matters. I’m confident that the Sustainable Development Goals can be the stepping stones we need and  help shift our focus while encouraging all of us to make a difference. Whether we are travelling or at home, making actionable micro choices that, together, will begin to change the big picture. 

I’d like to invite you to take this journey with me, and AM&A, as I explore the 17 sustainable development goals. Each month we’ll focus on one goal and explore actionable ways that we as individuals can change the world. 

Let’s #MakeTravelMatter

A SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT. x

One year ago, on what was a milestone day, I received the most incredible gift from someone who is a central part of my heart and who understands my heart – Al Merschen. The shock was immense. I understood what it was, but I couldn’t quite absorb its enormity: its immense purpose, its huge potential impact. I needed to get my head around it. I needed to get my heart around it – I needed to fully honour it.

Over the past year I, we, have been figuring out where in the world to bring this gift to life, and where in the world it can start to touch lives. The process of defining the WHAT, WHY and WHEN has been a long, important one. But now we know!

And so here, now, I am delighted to share that Al’s gift – creation of THE ANITA MENDIRATTA FOUNDATION, is being officially registered as a globally-focused Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) with the UK Charity Commission. For this, I thank Al with all of my heart, and with this, I hope to be able to make all the difference. x

IIPT – WHY IT MATTERS, NOW MORE THAN EVER

Not one to feel comfortable using the word “I” in writing, on this occasion I will absorb the discomfort and make an exception. Reason being, in this sharing the ‘I’ extends far beyond me.

In brief, on May 16th, 2019. the United Nations’ International Day of Living Together in Peace which is defined and designed to be one for “mobilising those in the international community to promote peace, tolerance, inclusion, understanding and solidarity”, the title of Ambassador For Peace At Large For Global Relations was bestowed upon me by the IIPT, the International Institute For Peace Through Tourism. https://peacetourism.org/anita-mendiratta-iipt/

I was deeply touched by the honour, and the reaction of colleagues, clients, friends and family, near and far. And I was quite silenced thinking ‘what does it actually mean? What does it mean to get this title at this time in my career? What does this mean for my future focus in working to develop peace through tourism.

And ultimately, why do we need an organi​s​ation like the IIPT?’ https://peacetourism.org/

Why indeed.

The IIPT as an organi​s​ation has been around for decades. Its mission is to promote peace through tourism’s ability to connect people, places, and possibilities. It hasn’t changed since 1986, even as the world around it, and peace itself, has taken on new challenges and meaning. Its reason for being has endured, actually strengthened.

Suddenly it was clear: the appointment was not a recognition of my work in the past. It was, in fact, a clear statement of expectation of my work in the future.

And here is why: becau​s​e now more than ever our world needs travel and tourism, to not only promote all that our shared world has to offer – socially, culturally, economically and environmentally – but to protect it.

Today we are bles​s​ed to live in a world without borders. Nowhere is out of bounds either in our imagination or infrastructure. We have the ability to get from A to B, right through to the end of the alphabet, as often, as frequently, and quite honestly, as indulgently as we wish. If we have the means – the time, the funds, the motivation, the inspiration, the facilitation, we have the ability to move anywhere.

As I say repeatedly from whichever stage I am blessed to speak, there is no industry in the world that demonstrates the desire of the people of the world to come together to understand and appreciate one another like travel and tourism. It is travel and tourism that inspires people to invest their time, money and energy to cross the street or cross the world to discover the other – exploring differences in people and places to understand, appreciate, and respect.

That is how tourism has become a vehicle for peace. And right now we need this proactive, empowering, and uniting vehicle for bridge-building, a force for good that works every day to unlock people’s ability to venture out into the world to feed their curiosity, find their compassion, to give, not just take.

For years, the linear premise of tourism being a vehicle for peace would yield questioning, often incredulous looks. The leap was too far. And then the early two thousands happened. Where tourism was one seen as peripheral, as recreational, a non-essential, in the last 15 years it has become an essential part of life for both travellers and locals alike. Business Development requires tourism. Understanding of the global community around us requires tourism. Economic opportunity requires tourism. Social stability and unity requires tourism. Local identity required tourism. The potential of the world to really see the value in which it holds together as well as independently requires tourism.

Importantly, without travel and tourism, we lose the opportunity for economic expansion that raises the baseline for billions, the opportunity for social understanding and inclusivity, the opportunity for environmental protection and preser​v​ation, the vital ways in which we can ensure that, for generations to come, proudly and purposefully protecting and preserving what Mother Nature gave us, and ultimately allowing us to see, feel, that it is our differences that unite us.

It is through our differences that we learn compassion, we learn understanding, we learn respect. This applies to not only how we see and accept responsibility for our engagement with other people. It is also about how we engage with the environment around us, living harmoniously with Mother Nature.

Powerfully, to travel is to also learn about oneself.

It is through tourism that all of these prisms of life are brought to life, creating connection. That connection creates harmony, which in turn, at scale, creates peace.

This truism has always been central to the IIPT, champions of the message that we as travellers around the world have a responsibility to vocali​s​e the invaluable impact of tourism beyond the tourists. It is our responsibility to vocali​s​e just how blessed we are to be able to reach out into the world, and in doing so, to actively work to knock down walls where differences are being used as a way of separating people, politics, policies, philosophies, and ultimately hearts.

The need for all of us to stand up and work for peace has become ever more personal. Now, right here and right now, travellers of the world need to embrace it is not someone else’s responsibility, it is all of ours. It is mine.

As we look at the UN SDGs and the 17 ways in which the goals develop a framework not just at government and corporate level, but at a citizen level, to examine how we can play our part to shape a truly sustainable world, there is an overt need to, through tourism, directly strengthen the fabric of our shared global community and home, for all people and places, all creatures great and small, all of Mother Nature’s creation. http://tourism4sdgs.org/

I will forever be grateful to the IIPT for this moment, this mandate. I am committed to serving the sector, now in a way that brings greater credibility, exposure, and inclusiveness of the IIPT into the global community as a part of the DNA of our sector truly being a force for good.

Now is the time, the perfect time, to get to work. x

 

Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2019

COMMITTED TO SERVING, COME WHAT MAY

 

And so arrived the moment so many had been waiting for, betting on, planning towards, wondering when……and at the same time, worrying about. The day when British Prime Minister the Right Honourable Theresa May, stepped out of one of the most recognised and iconic doors in the world – 10 Downing Street – to make it real:

24.05.2019, 10:00am London time, her words were spoken…

“it is now clear to me that it is in the best interests of the country for a new prime minister to lead that (Brexit deal approval) effort. So I am today announcing that I will resign as the leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party on Friday 7 June so that a successor can be chosen.”

In the days leading up to the moment all knew were coming, local media put forward their most desperate images and clever headlines in an effort to capture the essence of the angst of the moment. Focus was on failure: what had Her Excellency Prime Minister May NOT achieved? Where had she proven unable to lead? Why is this now the moment to admit defeat?

Sadly, and so reflective of the times in which we live, the macro is eclipsed by the micro. Those who should be celebrated for stepping forward and trying, with all of their faith, might, acumen, credibility and prayer, are faced with a chorus of watchers-on waiting for them to step out, demanding that they step out.

How does this happen?

How do people who enter an intensely competitive, challenging, aggressive, often damning space for the good of the people go, so rapidly, from being trusted and respected political sources and certainties representing the will of the people to someone the people will willingly celebrate seeing their demise? How has civilisation become so painfully uncivilised?

And how is this take-down acceptable?

24 hours on since resignation, an endless flow of endless commentary is flooding in. Analysis continues,….accusations endure. For all of her words reflecting on tenure, the defining moment of Prime Minister May’s time in office will be her announcement of resignation – especially her tears – the last 10 seconds of her entire address in which she choked up in unedited expression of her enduring love for, and commitment to, the country she loves.

As the UK now enters into ‘who next?’ territory, much will be made of Prime Minister May’s term in office, and how, sadly, it close with her conceding:

I have done everything I can to convince MPs to back that deal. Sadly, I have not been able to do so.”

Not now, but one day, one day, history will judge, and honour, the fact that entering into the role of the Right Honourable Prime Minister on the back of a ‘leave‘ EU referendum, Prime Minister May did the best she could for the people of the UK, her people of the UK. Did her leadership yield the desired result? Clearly not. And so she now hands over the challenge of securing consensus to her successor.

And yet as she exits the stage, is it important to recognise and salute that, without question, she did her best, put it all out on the field?

No question about it.

Respect and decency where due. Thank you, Right Honourable Prime Minister May. Thank you, Ma’am. x

 

Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2019