Twelfth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
United Nations Social Development Network (UNSDN)
Fifty-First Session of the Commission for Social Development
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High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly on Disability and Development
The General Assembly, in its resolution 65/309 entitled “Happiness: towards a holistic approach to development”, and conscious that the pursuit of happiness was a fundamental human goal, recognized that the gross domestic product (GDP) indicator was not designed to—and did not reflect adequately—the happiness and well-being of people. Consequently, the General Assembly invited Member States to pursue the elaboration of additional measures that captured the importance of the pursuit of happiness and well-being in development better, with a view to guiding their public policies. Those Member States who have taken initiatives to develop new indicators and other initiatives were invited to share information thereon with the Secretary-General as a contribution to the United Nations development agenda.
The General Assembly also invited the Secretary-General to seek the views of Member States and relevant regional and international organizations on the pursuit of happiness and well-being, and to communicate such views to the General Assembly at its sixty-seventh session. In response to its note verbale, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD/DESA) has received several communications from Member States and United Nations entities on initiatives on happiness and well-being implemented at both national and regional levels. In addition to presenting such initiatives, DSPD/DESA has found it useful to provide an update on the current state of research on happiness and well-being and focus on possible policy implications. Matters of special importance in these areas are (1) better integration of social and economic policies and examining the social consequences of economic policies; (2) sustainable development issues (3) development of well-being indicators, in conjunction with sustainable development indicators.
The exclusive pursuit of economic growth and rising incomes as an objective of development has been long questioned. In particular, measuring poverty by income alone has been seen as inadequate in assessing real poverty levels, that have to do with its other determinants such as lack of access to basic services, discrimination or social exclusion. Moreover, the divergence between economic and social policies and lack of monitoring of the social impact of economic policies has been frequently underscored at the United Nations forum and beyond. Finally, insufficient attention has been paid to the design of indicators of both sustainable development and well-being.
To read the draft note, click here
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