World Bank calls for more National Happiness

World Bank calls for more National Happiness

World Bank calls for more National Happiness

17 hours ago

GUWAHATI, India (AFP) – Other countries need to follow Bhutan’s lead in promoting Gross National Happiness as a gauge of national wellbeing, a World Bank official told the Himalayan nation’s state newspaper.

Bhutan’s former king Jigme Singye Wangchuck is famed for suggesting soon after he came to the throne in 1972 that Gross National Happiness was more important than Gross National Product in measuring national wealth and it has become the isolated kingdom’s guiding development philosophy.

“Bhutan has been translating this philosophy (of Gross National Happiness) into action on the ground, it has been practising what other countries need to do,” Bhutan’s Kuensel newspaper quoted World Bank managing director Graeme Wheeler as saying.

“We need to extend the concept of Gross National Happiness to Gross International Happiness,” he told the newspaper, received on Saturday in Guwahati, the largest city in the eastern Indian state of Assam that borders Bhutan.

The concept is based on the conviction that people are bound by their natures to search for happiness.

A recent study by the Centre for Bhutan Studies, a research institute located in the kingdom, found 68 percent of the country’s nearly 700,000 people were happy.

The pursuit of Gross National Happiness is listed in Bhutan’s draft constitution, slated to be ratified after a national referendum planned as part of the country’s historic shift to parliamentary democracy now under way.

Wheeler, who was in the country from November 2 to 6, also said the world had a lot to learn from Bhutan’s management of environmental resources in tackling global warming.

“Bhutan would play an important role in the global effort to address climate change in terms of the way it has thought about the use of forestry and how the constitution protects land use for forestry,” the official said.

Bhutan has decreed that forest cover should never drop beneath 60 percent of its total land area.

“Bhutan could play a critical role in showing the world how to respond to climate change,” Wheeler said.