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Bhutan PM visits UN, talks economic well-being, happiness


08:12, March 31, 2012

UNITED NATIONS, March 29 (Xinhua) -- Bhutan's Prime Minster Jigmi Y. Thinley on Thursday visited the UN headquarters in New York to promote a holistic approach to achieving economic development goals for the upcoming Rio+20 Summit, which is to be held in Brazil in June.

A high-level meeting on well-being and happiness: defining a new economic paradigm, will be held at the UN on April 2, when governmental, non-governmental, and religious leaders alike, will gather to discuss the methods set forth by the Bhutanese government in obtaining gross national happiness (GNH).

The assessment of GNH was designed in 1972 in an attempt to define an indicator that measures quality of life or social progress in more holistic and psychological terms than only the economic indicator of gross domestic product (GDP).

"Happiness is not just for Bhutan, it is for everyone," said the prime minister to reporters at a press conference here. "I think the world is ready, it would be too irresponsible for anyone to not even consider it."

The model toward social economic and environmental happiness is one that has been pursued by the Bhutanese government since the 1970s. The model plan seeks to integrate sustainable and equitable socio-economic development with environmental conservation, cultural promotion and good governance.

During the last few years, Bhutan has grown economically with this model -- since 2007, the country has seen a 22.4 percent growth in its economy.

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