UAE develops world's first 'Happiness Policy Manual'

The manual seeks to introduce the 'science of happiness' to the policy-making process
The manual seeks to introduce the "science of happiness" to the policy-making process

Dubai - The manual is a benchmark for government entities to align their policies and ensure they prioritise happiness.

By Staff Reporter

Published: Sat 28 Oct 2017, 8:00 PM

Last updated: Sat 28 Oct 2017, 10:57 PM

The UAE's 'Happiness Policy Manual' is the first instrument of its kind in the world, Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness and Wellbeing, said during the launch of the handbook on Saturday.
The manual, which was developed by the National Programme for Happiness and Positivity, "is a benchmark for government entities to align their policies and ensure they prioritise happiness".
The manual seeks 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 to harmonise their policies and steer them towards achieving nation-wide happiness," Al Roumi added. She urged 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.

Introductory workshop

The National Programme for Happiness and Positivity organised a workshop for around 100 federal policy makers 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.

Happy society

The manual helps government entities concentrate on happiness and align their policies and plans to ensure a happy society.
The manual simplifies measuring public happiness for policy makers, and fully explains the different aspects of happiness that can be measured and quantified - 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.

Policy formulation

The policy formulation 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. Policy makers consider the likely impacts of their policy on people's lives, propose ways to mitigate any potential negative effects, and study the potential for developing additional initiatives.

Policy assessment

The policy assessment phase consists of an exhaustive evaluation of the expected impact of the policy using the Happiness Impact Assessment Tool - an instrument that assesses the impact of policies on the happiness of the wider community and the expected duration of this effect.
The assessment tool includes six evaluation criteria - economy, health, education, society and culture, government services and governance, and environment and infrastructure. It evaluates the impact on happiness of policies on each of these domains, to ensure that happiness is viewed holistically. This stage also looks at cost-effectiveness and the cost-to-benefit analysis from a happiness perspective.

Policy implementation

The policy implementation phase involves rolling-out the policy and measuring on-the-ground outcomes against the projections from the policy assessment phase to evaluate its real effects on happiness using accurate, pertinent pilots.

KT Nano Edit

Seriously, let's be happy
The UAE's happiness agenda is going full steam ahead with scientific precision. Let's say the pursuit of happiness is being taken seriously by the government which is channelling vast resources and systems into the effort. Sounds like a lot of fun. Happiness is infectious when you pursue it. Seriously, let's have more fun.

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