Hon’ble Prime Minister arrives in New York
His Excellency Lyonchhen Jigmi Y Thinley arrived at the JFK international airport in New York City on 28 March, 2012 to attend the “high level meeting on well being and happiness: defining a new economic paradigm”, a first ever conference of this magnitude to be hosted by the Royal Government of Bhutan at the United Nations Head Quarters in New York City.
The conference will begin on 2 April and end on 4 April. Apart from the conference, Lyonchhen will also attend a Workshop on Happiness and Sustainable Development at the Low Library, Columbia University on 1 April 2012.y Lyonchhen Jigmi Y Thinley arrived at the JFK international airport in New York City on 28 march 2012 to attend the “high level meeting on well being and happiness: defining a new economic paradigm”, a first ever conference of this magnitude to be hosted by the Royal Government of Bhutan at the United Nations Head Quarters in New York City.
More than 30 years ago, His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck declared that “Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product”. Thus began a unique development path and a higher goal for human development than the existing global interpretation of development purely as economic development.Under the intellectual guidance of the present Prime Minister, Jigmi Yoezer Thinley, the Centre for Bhutan Studies (CBS) then began the academic construction of this profound philosophy that the royal government is now translating into policies and focussed activities. And Bhutan is no longer alone in its search for a more integrated approach that joins social, economic, and environmental objectives.
As the world faces multiple ecological and socio-economic crises, Bhutan’s holistic development approach is drawing growing international attention, acceptance, and support. President Sarkozy of France noted that the global financial and European debt crisis “doesn’t only make us free to imagine other models, another future, and another world. It obliges us to do so.” And the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has brought wellbeing into the UK’s core measures of progress, declaring: “Improving our society’s sense of well-being is…the central political challenge of our times.”
This emerging international consensus was manifested in July last year when 68 countries joined Bhutan to co-sponsor a UN resolution on “Happiness: Towards a holistic approach to development,” which was adopted by consensus by the 193-member United Nations. The resolution stated that “happiness is a fundamental human goal and universal aspiration; that GDP by its nature does not reflect that goal; that unsustainable patterns of production and consumption impede sustainable development; and that a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach is needed to promote sustainability, eradicate poverty, and enhance wellbeing”.
On 2nd April, 2012, Bhutan will host a major high-level meeting at the United Nations in New York to discuss and draw up a new global wellbeing and sustainability-based economic paradigm to replace a system that is in rapid melt-down world-wide. The meeting will be attended by the United Nations Secretary-General, Nobel Laureates like economist Joseph Stiglitz and the President of Costa Rica which was last year ranked the “greenest country in the world”, and 450 eminent participants from governments, international organisations, civil society and media, top economists and scholars, and spiritual and faith leaders. This unique meeting of minds and spirit will not be a talking shop but a vigorous discourse in an earnest effort to design and launch a new economy.
The conference will produce practical policy recommendations that governments can adopt to move towards a new economic paradigm, a communications plan, an expert task force to flesh out the details, structures, principles, and regulatory mechanisms of the new economic model, and strategies to build a global movement and bring the new paradigm into the Rio + 20 summit deliberations.
Bhutan believes that the global community can find a sound basis for this new thinking in the enlightened philosophy of Gross National Happiness. As a small country with big ideals Bhutan hopes that this guide to development and change will inspire the changes that the world desperately needs today.
To watch Hon’ble PM at a press conference in New York, go to http://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/webcast/2012/03/press-conference-h-e-jigmi-y-thinley-prime-minister-of-bhutan.html