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The concept of gross national happiness (GNH) was developed in an attempt to define an indicator that measures quality of life or social progress in more holistic and psychological terms than gross domestic product (GDP). The term was coined in 1972 by Bhutan's former King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, who has opened up Bhutan to the age of modernization, soon after the demise of his father, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. He used the phrase to signal his commitment to building an economy that would serve Bhutan's unique culture based on Buddhist spiritual values (1).
The purpose of the GNH Policy Lens is to provide a systematic appraisal of the potential effects of proposed policies and actions on the GNH of the population, based on expected impacts on key determinants of GNH (2). The primary benefits of this policy lens are:
- It requires that all relevant dimensions are considered in the policy impact process and, consequently, supports a holistic approach to policy development.
- It forces an acknowledgement of areas where potential effects are not known and penalizes the policy accordingly.
- It provides a vehicle for a number of participants from a variety of backgrounds to work towards a consensus about policy impacts.
Policy Indicators are comprised of 23 indicators namely: Biodiversity, Equity, Nature, Pollution, Spirituality, Participation and Corruption.
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