Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bhutan Wants the UN to Include Happiness as a Development Goal

The Prime Minister of Bhutan at the UN. From Kuensel.
Kuensel Online, Bhutan's daily news site, reports that Prime Minister Lyonchhoen Jigmi Y Thinley made a speech before the United Nations on Monday. The speech asked world leaders to put "happiness" on the list of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The UN created this list of goals in 2001:

  1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  2. Achieve universal primary education
  3. Promote gender equality and empower women
  4. Reduce child mortality rate
  5. Improve maternal health
  6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
  7. Ensure environmental sustainability
  8. Develop a global partnership for development

The UN wants to meet these goals by 2015. As we speak, a review board is looking at how close we are, so the results should be in soon. Bhutan's Prime Minister says that happiness should be number nine on the list because it "stands as a separate value while representing as well the sum total outcome of the other eight."

Bhutan itself is an interesting country because it considers Gross National Happiness (GNH) to be more important than GDP, based on a policy enacted in 1972. As far as I know, it's still the only country with this policy. It's an interesting experiment, so I'll probably talk more about Bhutan in the future!


  1. I've always wanted to visit Bhutan Derek. Just another reason here ;)

    Thanks for sharing.


  2. Yes I'd like to go to Bhutan also. It's certainly a gorgeous country! Look:

  3. Happiness as one of the Millennium Development Goals is a superb idea, so innovative too.

  4. Well intentioned but the measurement of :-) & :-( can be tricky though. Derek! Keep up the good work~