Ranking achieved two years after the UAE launched the world's first happiness council
The UAE has been named as the happiest country in the Gulf region, ranking 21st globally in a new list topped by Finland.
Saudi Arabia (28th), Bahrain (37th) and Kuwait (51st) were also included in The World Happiness Report, an annual publication of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network which ranked a total of 156 countries.
The UAE has created a National Programme for Happiness & Wellbeing, one of seven policies to help the country hit its 2071 goals.
In 2017, the UAE launched the world’s first happiness council.
Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed announced the formation of the 13-member council, saying the world needs to adopt a new approach to achieve human happiness, which should be based on co-operation and the integration of efforts.
As in 2018, Finland again took the top spot as the happiest country in the world, followed by Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, New Zealand, Canada and Austria.
Among the 20 top gainers in life evaluations from 2005-2008 to 2016-2018, 10 are in Central and Eastern Europe, five are in sub-Saharan Africa, and three in Latin America.
The 10 countries with the largest declines in average life evaluations typically suffered some combination of economic, political, and social stresses. The five largest drops since 2005-2008 were in Yemen, India, Syria, Botswana and Venezuela.
“The world is a rapidly changing place,” said Professor John Helliwell, co-editor of the report. “How communities interact with each other whether in schools, workplaces, neighbourhoods or on social media has profound effects on world happiness.”
The World Happiness Report 2019, which ranks countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be, according to their evaluations of their own lives, was produced in partnership with The Ernesto Illy Foundation.
“We are living a moment of transition to a new age and this generates a sense of uncertainty,” said Andrea Illy, chairman of illycaffè and member of the board of Fondazione Ernesto Illy. “Social happiness is therefore even more relevant, in order to give a positive perspective and outlook for the present and for the future.”