happiness…felicidad…lykke…cчастье…ख़ुशी…felicidade…幸福…سعادة

mutluluk…ka pomaikai…felicitat…bonheur…geluk…glück…ပျြောရှငျမှု

hapusrwydd…شادی…qismet…štěstí…ευτυχία…szczęście…sonas… zoriontasuna

സന്തോഷം…ਖੁਸ਼ੀ…farxad…kontantman…fiafia…xушбахт…sự hạnh phúc

 

There isn’t a country or culture in the world that does not include the concept of happiness; it is an innate feature of human nature. Therefore, in Resolution 65/309, the United Nations formally recognized the universal importance of happiness, permanently embedding the goal of happiness in global development objectives. One year after this decision, the General Assembly proclaimed March 20th the International Day of Happiness in Resolution 66/281. Discussions of happiness on the international stage were inspired by the words of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during the High Level Meeting on “Happiness and Well-Being: Defining a New Economic Paradigm.” He announced that the world “needs a new economic paradigm that recognizes the parity between the three pillars of sustainable development. Social, economic and environmental well-being are indivisible. Together they define gross global happiness.” In fact, UN representatives have put forth the assertion that happiness is a better indicator of human welfare than income, poverty, education, health, or good governance.

The United Nation’s World Happiness Report is released annually in an effort to evaluate happiness around the globe. Countries are ranked on a variety of criterion, namely, Gallup survey results asking each participant to rate their life in comparison to their best possible life. Other factors include GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and perceptions of corruption. Once again, Denmark was ranked the happiest country in the world, according to the UN study, followed closely by Switzerland and Iceland.

The World Happiness Report is not the only measurement of happiness, however. The Happy Planet Index also ranks the happiness of countries but places greater emphasis on environmental factors in determining how well countries are able to provide long, sustainable lives for the residents. The rankings are determined by multiplying each country’s wellbeing, life expectancy, and inequality of outcomes and dividing the result by the country’s ecological footprint. Using this scale, Latin American and South Pacific nations are happiest, with Costa Rica taking the number one spot for the third year in a row. Comparatively, Denmark ranks 32nd due to high impact of its residents on the environment.

Experts disagree on how to measure happiness but there is one thing, we can all agree on: to be happy is an important human aspiration. Maybe it’s our ability to live a long life or our sense of belonging or our security that makes us happy. Then again, perhaps all of the studies and scientific measures are wrong and, as Aristotle wrote, “happiness depends on ourselves.” Thus, we can choose happiness over despair even in the worst of circumstances. No matter how it is achieved, global happiness is a noble pursuit and, for that reason, GGS gladly joins in celebrating with the rest of the world today.