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Land of GNH ranked halfway on global happy scale

Bhutan can take some consolation from the fact that it is the happiest in South Asia

Report: Bhutan is 17th happiest country in Asia and the happiest among its South Asian neighbours.

For the first time, Bhutan is listed in the World Happiness Report, 2015, and ranked 79th among 158 countries.

Pakistan is ranked 81st, Bangladesh 109th, India 117th, Nepal 121st and Afghanistan 153rd.

Switzerland, Iceland and Denmark are the top three happiest countries in the world, according to the report.

The 158 countries were ranked based on six variables, including GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, social support, and freedom to make life choices, generosity and the absence of corruption.

According to 2013 statistics with the National Statistical Bureau (NSB), Bhutan’s GDP per capita is USD 2,440.41.  Its life expectancy is 67.9 years.  Bhutan is perceived as a least corrupt nation, according to the 2013 Corruption Perception Index.  It ranked 31st among 177 countries in 2013.

The report states that the data and analysis of the 2013 report have helped to satisfy, and perhaps to fuel, growing public interest in applying the science of happiness to public affairs.  It was also found that many sub-national governments are measuring subjective wellbeing, and using wellbeing research as a guide to design of public spaces and delivery of public services.

This year (2015), the report stated, is a watershed for humanity, with the pending adoption of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to help guide the world community towards a more sustainable pattern of global development.

The report was compiled by a group of researchers drawing on Gallup World Poll data from the past five years.

“We hope that the 2015 World Happiness Report once again underscores the fruitfulness of using happiness measurements for guiding policy making and for helping to assess the overall well-being in each society,” the report stated.

The first World Happiness Report was published in support of the April 2, 2012 United Nations high level meeting on happiness and wellbeing.  That meeting followed the July 2011 resolution of the UN General Assembly, inviting member countries to measure the happiness of their people, and to use this to help guide their public policies

The UN, in releasing the study, urged heads of state to find a way to put happiness on the global agenda, an idea first proposed in 1972 by the Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network sponsored the report.

Nirmala Pokhrel

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