On Monday 2nd April 2012 a landmark resolution (number 65) is before the United Nations General Assembly. Bhutan has a population under 800,000, the average income is about $110 per month - low enough for the vast majority of people in Bhutan not to have to pay taxes. The fledgling Bhutanese constitution requires that at least 60% of the country remains under forest cover forever and its stated policy is to be 100% organic in its agricultural production. Major progress has been made in achieving rising per capita incomes, reduced infant mortality, higher life expectancy and a rising percentage of females in education.
Resolution 65 states 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 more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach is needed to promote sustainability, eradicate poverty and enhance well-being”.
The passing of resolution 65 is a small stepping stone towards a wider recognition that ecological sustainability, equity, and life satisfaction are being given great emphasis in global politics. But whether gross national happiness (GNH) will ever substitue Gross National Income as one of the default measures of economic progress is doubtful.
Bhutan Birth Rate
Life Expectancy at birth for females
Net Overseas Development Assistance as a % of Gross National Income (GNI)
Under 5 Mortality Rate
GDP Growth Rate