Bhutan - land of Gross National Happiness
Development path with values
Since the 1970's, Bhutan has pursued its own path undeterred for 4 decades following the GNH philosophy.
In 2006, the father of the present King, passed on his power to his son, His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, however, he proclaimed that Bhutan in the future should be managed by a democratically elected government. The first democratic elections were held in 2008 and Bhutan is now a constitutional monarchy.
The new constitution and the government's policies are now based on the four pillars of GNH: Fair socio-economic development (better education and health), conservation and promotion of a vibrant culture, environmental protection and good governance.
The present King, His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck has said “Today GNH has come to mean so many things to so many people, but to me it signifies simply – development with values. Thus for my nation today GNH is the bridge between the fundamental values of kindness, equality and humanity and the necessary pursuit of economic growth. GNH acts as our National Conscience guiding us towards making wise decisions for a better future.”
Results of Bhutan's GNH values
1. Declared at COP 16 that Bhutan will remain carbon neutral – always
2. Invested heavily in green hydro power
3. Told McDonalds “No thank you” to start business in Bhutan – for health reasons
4. Achieved more than 72% forest cover
5. Protected 33% of the country in national parks or reserves for the benefit of the wildlife
6. Initiated GNH education in schools
7. Begun the process of developing GNH accounting.