Bhutan measures prosperity by gauging its citizens' happiness levels, not the GDP. Now its ideas are attracting interest at the UN climate change conference in Doha.
Since 1971, the country [Bhutan] has rejected GDP as the only way to measure progress. In its place, it has championed a new approach to development, which measures prosperity through formal principles of gross national happiness (GNH) and the spiritual, physical, social and environmental health of its citizens and natural environment.Annie Kelly
This remote kingdom, a place of ancient monasteries , fluttering prayer flags and staggering natural beauty . Less than 40 years ago, Bhutan opened its borders for the first time. Since then, it has gained an almost mythical status as a real- life Shangri-La , largely for its determined and methodical pursuit of the most elusive of concepts – national happiness.
Although the term “Gross National Happiness” was first coined by the Fourth King of Bhutan the concept has a much longer resonance in the Kingdom of Bhutan. The 1729 legal code, which dates from the unification of Bhutan, declared that “if the Government can not create happiness (dekid) for its people, there is no purpose or the Government to exist".
Our philosophical mission of maintaining GNH generates great interest, yet it creates more responsibility to us in Bhutan to ensure that we don’t lose that special and unique perspective for our country. So how does GNH translate to life in Bhutan? GNH comprises four pillars: Conservation of the Environment , Equitable and Sustainable Development, Good Governance, and Preservation of Culture .
To help the government in its meaningful work to achieve Bhutan’s development goal of Gross National Happiness and to continue the development success the country has achieved so far, the Bhutan Foundation aligns its programs to support initiatives under all four pillars of GNH.