On first International Day of Happiness, Ban calls for inclusive human development

Credit: International Day of Happiness

20 March 2013 – Marking the first ever International Day of Happiness, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on the international community to commit to an inclusive and sustainable human development that will improve the well-being of those who lack basic services needed to pursue happiness.

“People around the world aspire to lead happy and fulfilling lives free from fear and want, and in harmony with nature,” Mr. Ban said in his message for the Day.

“Yet, basic material well-being is still elusive for far too many living in extreme poverty. For many more, recurring socio-economic crises, violence and crime, environmental degradation and increasing threats of climate change are an ever-present threat.”

In April 2012, the UN held a High-level Meeting on the topic of 'Happiness and Well-Being: Defining a New Economic Paradigm' at the initiative of Bhutan, a country which recognized the supremacy of national happiness over national income since the early 1970s and famously adopted the goal of Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product (GDP).

In July, the General Assembly proclaimed 20 March the International Day of Happiness, recognizing the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in people's lives around the world and the importance of their recognition in public policy objectives.

“I am encouraged by the efforts of some Governments to design policies based on comprehensive well-being indicators. I encourage others to follow suit,” Mr. Ban said. “On this first International Day of Happiness, let us reinforce our commitment to inclusive and sustainable human development and renew our pledge to help others.

“When we contribute to the common good, we ourselves are enriched. Compassion promotes happiness and will help build the future we want.”

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