ISLAMABAD - International Day of Happiness will be marked on March 20 across the globe. The day recognises that happiness is a fundamental human goal and calls upon countries to approach public policies in ways that improve the well-being of all people.

By designating a special day for happiness, the UN aims to focus world attention on the idea that economic growth must be inclusive, equitable, and balanced, such that it promotes sustainable development, and alleviates poverty. Additionally the UN acknowledges that in order to attain global happiness, economic development must be accompanied by social and environmental well-being.

The initiative to declare a day of happiness came from Bhutan – a country whose citizens are considered to be some of the happiest people in the world. The Himalayan Kingdom has championed an alternative measure of national and societal prosperity, called the Gross National Happiness Index. The index rejects the sole use of economic and material wealth as an indicator of development, and instead adopts a more holistic outlook, where spiritual well-being of citizens and communities is given as much importance as their material well-being.