WB to globally replicate Bhutan’s happiness model

Thimphu, November 10:

Bhutan’s concept of gross national happiness (GNH) to measure the country’s wealth, an alternative to the world’s economic scale, could now become a global buzzword with the World Bank (WB) trying to popularise the model.

“Bhutan has been translating this philosophy into action on the ground. It has been practicing what other countries need to do. We need to extend the concept of gross national happiness to gross international happiness,” Graeme Wheeler, managing director of the World Bank, was quoted as saying by Bhutan’s newspaper Kuensel. Wheeler was in Thimphu on a five-day long official visit.

Bhutan, is ranked near the bottom of the world’s development scale. It, hen-ce, came up with a unique way to measure the country’s wealth in terms of the happiness of its citizens.

Instead of attaining a higher GDP, the official goal here is GNH — a policy decreed by former ruler Jigme Singye Wangchuck to try and reflect true quality of life in a more holistic way.

The official said among the countries the World Bank partnered with, the Himalayan kingdom tops the list in terms of government performance in areas like preservation of cultural values, good governance, and conservation of the environment.

“When we partner with the Bhutanese governme-nt, it is a valuable one, whe-re we at World Bank learn a lot from Bhutan,” Wheeler said. “We don’t call it gross inter-national happiness but philosophically and practically it’s the same.”

Wheeler said Bhutan could play a critical role in showing the world how to respond to climate change, which today posed massive challenges to the international community. “Bhutan would play an important role in the global effort to address climate change in terms of the way it thought about the use of forestry.