Nor­we­gians a happy bunch

Nordic na­tion dis­places Den­mark in new UN re­port on cit­i­zen well-be­ing

The Star Malaysia - - World -

Nor­way has dis­placed Den­mark as the world’s hap­pi­est coun­try in a new World Hap­pi­ness Re­port.

NEW YORK: Nor­way dis­placed Den­mark as the world’s hap­pi­est coun­try in a new re­port re­leased that called on na­tions to build so­cial trust and equal­ity to im­prove the well-be­ing of their cit­i­zens.

The Nordic na­tions are the most con­tent, ac­cord­ing to the World Hap­pi­ness Re­port 2017 pro­duced by the Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment So­lu­tions Net­work (SDSN), a global ini­tia­tive launched by the United Na­tions in 2012.

Coun­tries in sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa, along with Syria and Ye­men, are the least happy of the 155 coun­tries ranked in the fifth an­nual re­port re­leased at the United Na­tions.

“Happy coun­tries are the ones that have a healthy balance of pros- per­ity, as con­ven­tion­ally mea­sured, and so­cial cap­i­tal, mean­ing a high de­gree of trust in a so­ci­ety, low in­equal­ity and con­fi­dence in gov­ern­ment,” Jef­frey Sachs, the di­rec­tor of the SDSN and a spe­cial ad­vi­sor to the United Na­tions Sec­re­taryGen­eral, said in an in­ter­view.

The aim of the re­port re­leased yes­ter­day, he added, is to pro­vide a tool for gov­ern­ments, busi­ness and civil so­ci­ety to help their coun­tries find a bet­ter way to well-be­ing.

Den­mark, Ice­land, Switzer­land, Fin­land, Nether­lands, Canada, New Zealand, Aus­tralia and Swe­den rounded out the top 10 coun­tries.

South Su­dan, Liberia, Guinea, Togo, Rwanda, Tan­za­nia, Bu­rundi and the Cen­tral African Repub­lic were at the bot­tom.

Ger­many was ranked 16, fol­lowed by the United King­dom (19) and France (31). The United States dropped one spot to 14.

Sachs said the United States is fall­ing in the rank­ing due to in­equal­ity, dis­trust and cor­rup­tion.

Eco­nomic mea­sures that the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is try­ing to pur­sue, he added, will make things worse.

“They are all aimed at in­creas­ing in­equal­ity and tax cuts at the top, throw­ing peo­ple off the health­care rolls, cut­ting Meals on Wheels in order to raise mil­i­tary spend­ing.

“I think every­thing that has been pro­posed goes in the wrong di­rec­tion,” he ex­plained.

The rank­ings are based on six fac­tors – per capita gross do­mes­tic prod­uct, healthy life ex­pectancy, free­dom, gen­eros­ity, so­cial sup­port and ab­sence of cor­rup­tion in gov­ern­ment or busi­ness.

“The low­est coun­tries are typ­i­cally marked by low val­ues in all six vari­ables,” said the re­port, pro­duced with the sup­port of the Ernesto Illy Foun­da­tion.

Sachs would like na­tions to fol­low the United Arab Emi­rates and other coun­tries that have ap­pointed Min­is­ters of Hap­pi­ness.

“I want gov­ern­ments to mea­sure this, dis­cuss it, an­a­lyse it and un­der­stand when they have been off on the wrong di­rec­tion,” he said. — Reuters

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