A Gross National Happiness (GNH) Certification Tool for Business will be launched at a GNH For Business conference in November this year, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay announced at the Singapore summit in Singapore on September 16.

Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay said the summit is an appropriate venue to clarify the misconception that GNH does not undermine the importance of economic wellbeing.

“While GNH has largely focused on the sphere of public policy, we are now integrating GNH values into the decision-making processes of businesses,” Lyonchhen said. “Business companies that qualify, will be awarded the GNH Certification as an incentive which will also serve as a powerful brand that carries the impact of GNH.”

Using GNH indicators, Lyonchhen said that this process would measure the commitment of business firms to behave ethically and contribute to the happiness of the workers as well as that of their customers, community and society. “All this while also contributing to the sustainability of the natural environment.”

While Bhutan and Singapore are both small countries with large neighbours, unlike Singapore, Bhutan does not have the resources to be a small country that can punch above its weight, Lyonchhen said. “Bhutan is constantly grappling with our karma – the causes and conditions – created by the presence of very large neighbours. And it is because of the threat perception of a small country with a strong sense of vulnerability that Bhutan has approached the process of development, modernisation, and change with extreme caution.”

The summit, the prime minister said has delved into the core of the issues that are challenging the stability of human existence and development.

“It is critical that we navigate a new world order through an unpredictable regional and global political, social, and economic climate; that we define Asia’s new role in keeping regions interconnected and interdependent; that we design policies to deal with inequalities that are excluding societies and leaving countries behind; that we tap the amazing power of technology; and that we strengthen social justice and harmony for all our peoples,” Lyonchhen said.

He said he is reassured that the summit included “The Future We Lead” because young leaders are at the forefront in addressing challenging issues in their own societies and carry the mandate of the new world order. “In Bhutan, too, the largest section of our population is the youth. And they are constantly reminded of their responsibility by our 37-year old King.”

As the Singapore Summit implies, for the 2030 Agenda to be truly transformative and universal, LDCs that remain the furthest behind must be at the centre of the international community’s attention and efforts, Lyonchhen said.

Staff Reporter