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UAE develops world’s maiden Happiness Policy Manual
By a Staff Reporter October 29, 2017
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DUBAI: “The UAE’s ‘Happiness Policy Manual’, developed by the National Program for Happiness and Positivity, is the first instrument of its kind in the world,” said Ohood Bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness and Wellbeing, describing it as a benchmark for government entities to align their policies and ensure they prioritise people’s happiness.

 The Manual seeks, first and foremost, to introduce the “science of happiness” to the policy-making process, proposing innovative ways to incorporate it into current and future public policies and then evaluating their effect on the happiness and wellbeing of society.

 “The Manual balances personal happiness with societal aspects. It complements the National Programme for Happiness and Positivity’s efforts to empower Government entities by providing practical instruments for them to harmonise their policies and steer them towards achieving nationwide happiness,” Al Roumi added, urging all Government departments to benefit from the tools and concepts provided in the Manual to incorporate happiness into their policies and programmes and, finally, evaluate their effect on target segments.

The National Programme for Happiness and Positivity organised a workshop for around 100 federal policymakers to introduce the Happiness Policy Manual. The workshop included a discussion by Paul Dolan, Professor of Behavioural Science at the London School of Economics (LSE), during which he presented a number of approaches to centre government policies around happiness, illustrating them with examples of success stories that underline the role of behavioural shifts on public happiness.

The Manual helps Government entities concentrate on happiness and align their policies and plans to ensure a happy society. It introduces concepts and tools that are applicable when setting new policies, in addition to reinforcing and improving existing policies.

The Happiness Policy Manual provides a systemic and practical explanation of happiness, and details tools to quantify and evaluate it. It seeks to incorporate happiness into all stages of policy making - formulation, assessment and implementation - and is an effective tool to align policies in the UAE.

The Manual simplifies measuring public happiness for policymakers, and fully explains the different aspects of happiness that can be measured and quantified, namely: Evaluative Happiness, Effective Happiness, Eudaimonic Happiness, and happiness related to public policy domains, including economy, education, health, society and culture, government services, and environment and infrastructure.

The policy formulation stage is a major step, one that is guided by the scientific fundamentals of happiness as the Government entity in question prepares a bundle of initiatives that seek to increase happiness and improve quality of life.

At this stage, the entity identifies challenges and potential areas for development, and proposes changes that make policies more successful in achieving happiness.

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