Bhutan observed International Day of Happiness (IDH) yesterday with the lighting of a thousand butter lamps at the National Memorial choeten, according to a press release from the foreign affair ministry.

Foreign minister Damcho Dorji led the commemoration. The event was attended by senior officials of the Royal Government, representatives of the diplomatic community, international organisations, and civil society.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed March 20 as the International Day of Happiness in June 2012. The occasion is observed internationally, including through educational and public awareness raising activities.

Based on the GNH approach to development, a resolution entitled, “Happiness: Towards a holistic approach to development”, was introduced by Bhutan at the United Nations in 2011. The resolution recognises the pursuit of happiness as a fundamental human goal as well as the need for a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes sustainable development, poverty eradication, happiness and the wellbeing of all people.

In his keynote address at the Global Dialogue on Happiness in Dubai on  February 11, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay affirmed that governments should recognise happiness as a public good, rather than relegating it as an individual pursuit.

Staff reporter