Applying Bhutan’s Tenets Of Gross National Happiness As Blueprints For Sustainable Global Development

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The UNDP Administrator said that there was an extraordinary alignment between the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and the tenets of GNH.

(Source: Facebook/His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck)

 

By Tshering Palden Kuensel

The United Nations admire the progress that Bhutan has made with the concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH).

“The UN wants its experts to work with Bhutanese experts,” said Achim Steiner, the UNDP Administrator, who was on a three-day visit last week. 

He was in the country to co-chair 'GNH - a practical development concept' at the 14th Round Table Meeting. 

GNH has grown from an idea into a paradigm, a concept, and a national planning process with the GNH commission. It has become part of the development and decision making process in Bhutan.

 

Photo: Tops Images

 

“This is an important reference point as the UNDP begins to evolve with its own future methodological framework for the human development report,” said Achim Steiner, who is also the UN under-secretary general. 

The UNDP will explore more interaction between global teams and Bhutan, together with many others who are thinking about what development in the 21st century will look like for a mountain kingdom. 

Strong link between the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and tenets of GNH

The UNDP Administrator said that there was an extraordinary alignment between the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and the tenets of GNH. 

“I would only encourage that everyone in Bhutan and the world at large to view GNH as an opportunity to work on the practical operationalisation of a wiser and smarter developmental concept for the 21st century,” he said. 

Bhutan has put a finger on a number of issues that are causing deep disturbance in many societies across the world today.

It does not mean that the tiny Himalayan Kingdom has all the answers. However, Bhutan is leading a discourse through the governmental process of policy making.

“For UNDP, our future is as strong and as focused on working with our partners here as it has been in the past,” said Achim Steiner. 

 

Photo: Kuensel

 

As the country prepares for its graduation from the least developed countries (LDC) category, the next four years are critical in consolidating the successes of the country’s development. It is also crucial to prepare the country for what lies ahead of its development.

Bhutan’s united commitment to the values of GNH

“A profoundly exciting observation during my days here in Bhutan has been to sense the strength of identity and the clarity of thought and aspiration that defines the developmental choices made by the country and its people,” he said. 

During his discussions with the Prime Minister, Opposition Leader, Speaker and other cabinet ministers, Achim Steiner was struck by their united commitment to the values of GNH, something that is rare in today’s world.

“The sense of unity, and purpose is what makes Bhutan strong,” he explained.

“And the leadership of His Majesty who in His vision and leadership gives the country the confidence but also for us who look to Bhutan as a nation who has many challenges in today’s world and the uncertainties of climate change.”

However, what is reassuring is that these topics are at the forefront of leaders in Bhutan. 

“That’s why I feel so reassured after these days of spending time here listening and learning, observing that for us in the United Nations and particularly also for UNDP, our collaboration and support into the future is as strong as ever if not stronger.”

 

This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.

 


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