Happiness of citizens must top government agendas

UN representative delivers warning at World Government Summit
By Jeremy Lawrence
Mon 12 Feb 2018 02:58 PM

Governments around the world who place economic growth about the wellbeing of their citizens risk unstable futures, said a UN representative at the World Government Summit in Dubai this morning.

Achim Steiner, an expert in environmental issues and politics who currently serves as administrator of the United Nations Development Programme reminded the audience that: “The last few years have taught us bitter lessons about what happens when citizens are left behind and start to question their governments.”

Steiner cautioned that over the past 30 to 50 years, government have often prioritised economic growth over sustainable goals.

“We have been reminded in last ten years of what a big mistake it is if equality and sustainability are not honoured. We must deliver tolerant and happy societies. Nations that are most successful long-term are the ones that understand that economics are the foundations for success, not the endpoint.”

He also cautioned against the monopolisation of technology, predicting that: “We may end up in a world where 10 companies control all the information that circulates in our economies.”

Steiner’s address ended on a positive note, however, as he extolled the benefits that technology can bring to good governance.

“The benefits of e-governance are self-evident. There is no question that technology makes governments better. We are seeing unimaginable possibilities with technology and how we can ensure we leave no one behind.”

In 2016, Ohoud Al Roumi was named as the UAE’s first Minister of State for Happiness and Wellbeing.

Al Roumi, who is also the vice chairman of the World Government Summit, opened the second session of the Global Dialogue of Happiness yesterday with the words of UAE Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed: “My wealth is the happiness of my people”.

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