Secretary-General's message for International Day of Happiness
New York, 20 March 2014
The twin concepts of happiness and well-being increasingly feature in international discussions of sustainable development and the future we want.
Many countries are going beyond the rhetoric of quality of life to incorporate practical measures to promote these concepts in their legislation and policy-making. These good practices can inspire other countries so that measuring and accounting for broader well-being, and not simply national income, becomes a universal practice.
Happiness may have different meanings for different people. But we can all agree that it means working to end conflict, poverty and other unfortunate conditions in which so many of our fellow human beings live.
Happiness is neither a frivolity nor a luxury. It is a deep-seated yearning shared by all members of the human family. It should be denied to no-one and available to all. This aspiration is implicit in the pledge of the United Nations Charter to promote peace, justice, human rights, social progress and improved standards of life.
Now is the time to convert this promise into concrete international and national action to eradicate poverty, promote social inclusion and inter-cultural harmony, ensure decent livelihoods, protect the environment and build institutions for good governance. These are the foundations for human happiness and well-being.