Bhutan spreads hap­pi­ness to UN

Bhutan Times - - Home - By Bar­bara Plett BBC UN cor­re­spon­dent

Lhatu Wangchuk ad­mits his vi­sion is Utopian, but should be worked on

This week the Gen­eral As­sem­bly adopted a non­bind­ing res­o­lu­tion that aims to make hap­pi­ness a “devel­op­ment in­di­ca­tor”.

Bhutan’s am­bas­sador Lhatu Wangchuk told the BBC the next step was to help UN mem­bers bet­ter un­der­stand the con­cept.

He ad­mit­ted some were scep­ti­cal when Bhutan started lob­by­ing for the res­o­lu­tion 10 months ago. But ul­ti­mately it won 66 co-spon­sors, in­clud­ing the UK.

The idea is based on Bhutan’s model of GNH, or Gross Na­tional Hap- pi­ness, which mea­sures qual­ity of life by try­ing to strike a bal­ance be­tween the ma­te­rial and the spir­i­tual.

The res­o­lu­tion in­vites mem­ber states to draw up their own mea­sures of hap­pi­ness and con­trib­ute them to the UN’s devel­op­ment agenda.

“It’s ba­si­cally an ap­proach,” said Mr Wangchuk. “Our ini­tial idea was to bring the con­cept of hap­pi­ness to the con­scious­ness of the UN membership… be­cause we know that GDP in­di­ca­tors are in­ad­e­quate to ad­dress hu­man needs.”

Bhutan has put the pol­i­tics of hap­pi­ness on the UN’s agenda.

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