The World Government Summit, held in Dubai in February of this year, was focused on methods to improve human progress through collecting good data to improve the quality of human lives. That data can, in turn, enable an improved understanding of what it takes to build happier lives for people around the world.
To provide direction and suggestions towards better ways of choosing among the myriad policy options, the Global Happiness Council (GHC) and Professor Jeffrey Sachs, the Director of the council, say it's necessary to look to successful models of the past. Through directed mindfulness, mindful performance, and positive leadership, the GHC is committed to help inform public opinion.
According to Professor Sachs, the work begins by filling the gaps in efforts to aid countries in their mission to apply the science of happiness to develop policy applications.
His answer begins with mobilizing global public opinion through positive education of governments and through the diplomatic efforts of the United Nations.
Sachs calls The United Nations “a remarkable, yet fragile, institution.” It's the core of that institution which can lead to a new way of thinking. Sachs says a vision inspired by Franklin D. Roosevelt - as a response to two world wars - led to the UN Charter. That charter, a universal framework to achieve peace, worked in conjunction with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to achieve the goal: of building a universal framework to promote dignity, human rights, and well-being for the people of the world.
In his view, it is key that the UN has identified Sustainable Development as the “overarching and necessary framework for global well-being.” To that end, UN member states have unanimously adopted Agenda 2030 and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the agreed framework for development going forward. In addition, their adoption of the Paris Climate Agreement will work in tandem to create a socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable model - a framework for global happiness.
Sachs says the framework and the dialogue developed at the World Government Summit can be instrumental in leading positive interactions to enable the world to fulfill the bright goals of Agenda 2030, meet the SDGs, achieve the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement and ultimately fulfill the hopes of the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
This latest UAE initiative to promote a dialogue among governments will help leaders explore and share best practices for human happiness, and Sachs says the Global Happiness Council - a voluntary network of happiness researchers, experts, and practitioners – will support the Global Dialogue for Happiness in the coming years.
The stakes are high and the problems difficult, but Sachs sees the potential of the Global Dialogue for Happiness to promote human well-being around the world as vast.
It's about putting happiness at the center of governance, and the effort reflects a commitment to inspiring idealism and down-to-earth realism. Sachs says pursuing happiness is not only idealistic; it is the world’s best - and perhaps only - hope to avoid global catastrophe.
It may well come down to a choice of “happiness over power” as a path to global safety and survival. Events such as the 2018 World Government Summit, an inspiring initiative of the United Arab Emirates, is aimed at ending a cycle of war where major regional and global powers wrestle for advantage while the local people suffer and die in proxy wars.