20 March 2013 is the inaugural International Day of Happiness.
Adopted last year by the UN General Assembly, the Day recognises that happiness and well-being are universal goals to which people around the world aspire, and underscores the importance of these goals in international and national policymaking.
In his message for the Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: "The pursuit of happiness lies at the core of human endeavours." He drew attention to the need for broader measures of progress to complement Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and better inform policy decisions.
At the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), governments discussed ways in which to better measure progress. The UK put forward a proposal known as 'GDP+' that would encourage states to measure and account for the value of their natural resources and the social wellbeing of their people. Bhutan has famously replaced traditional measures of prosperity with a policy of Gross National Happiness.
To commemorate the first-ever International Day of Happiness, UNA-UK would like to celebrate all those who bring happiness to others, whether as peacemakers, aid-givers or human rights defenders. Working around the world, often in hardship, these unsung heroes help others not just to meet their basic needs, but to flourish and help themselves and those around them.
We also want to recognise our own members and supporters, who work tirelessly within their schools, universities, offices and communities to bring the UN’s message to a wider audience, and to demonstrate why the UN matters to people everywhere.