smiling children Jeff J Mitchell | getty images

A Quantum of Happiness

There have been a number of initiatives in recent years to move beyond GDP in measuring countries’ success in governance and development. In a country that has spent the past five decades building an economy from a standing start, the government knows only too well that such figures do not tell the whole story.

DUBAI – I’m delighted to join in the celebration of this year’s International Day of Happiness. But, to be honest, my focus is on the other 364 days of the year. After all, I am in the happiness business.

There have been a number of initiatives and efforts around the world to move beyond GDP and data on schools or hospital beds in measuring a country’s success in governance and development. In a country that has spent the past five decades building an economy from a standing start, the government in which I serve knows only too well that such figures, while showing that our development is progressing, do not tell the whole story – or anything like it.

In 2011, the United Nations called on member states to place more emphasis on happiness and wellbeing when working to achieve and measure social and economic development. Since then, many countries have come to realize that placing happiness at the heart of their governance objectives makes perfect sense.

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