Thank you Luka for sharing. Great seeing you and wife in Hong Kong earlier this year, certainly one of the happiest moments in 2019!
The topic of “happiness” is very interesting. In Asia, increasing number of friends are travelling to Bhutan to experience this happy nation (consistently ranks amongst the happiest nation in the world). Similar to Dubai, Bhutan also has a Gross National Happiness (GNH) index and Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC).
Bhutan equates its GNH concept as the Bhutanese version of sustainable development (source: Royal Government of Bhutan. Bhutan: In Pursuit of Sustainable Development—National Report for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development 2012; Royal Government of Bhutan: Thimphu, Bhutan, 2012).
GNH was first discussed and adopted by the 4th King of Bhutan in the 1970s, which is essentially a Buddhist philosophy that “measures the quality of a country in a more holistic way than GDP and believes that the beneficial development of human society takes place when material and spiritual development occur side by side to complement and reinforce each other” (source: Center for Bhutan Studies. An Extensive Analysis of GNH Index; Ura, K., Alkire, S., Zangmo, T.,
Wangdi, K., Eds.; Centre for Bhutan Studies: Thimphu, Bhutan, 2012).
Bhutan, following its GNH development initiative, along with its carbon neutral declaration in 2009, and its economic commitments, will find the mission of meeting the SDGs easier than other developing countries with fewer guidelines and targets for holistic socio-economic development.
Both Dubai and Bhutan could be showcases for happiness and prosperity, and thus, a role model for other countries (developed or developing) seeking alignment with the new universal SDGs and the Paris Agreement.
Look forward to sharing more happy moments with everyone in Cambridge very soon!