Society’s happiness is a social responsibility

Dr. Emad Saad
Chairman – Consultant for social responsibility
And sustainability for companies

In occasion of the International Day of Happiness, that are celebrated on 20 March of each year, the Secretary-General of the United Nations - Ban Ki-moon has called for concentrating on the climate issues for getting a planet full of happiness. Yet, what is the International Day of Happiness and what is its relation to the Social Responsibility?

United Nations has been celebrating the International Day of Happiness since 2013 acknowledging the importance of the happiness in the people lives all over the world and it recently announced 17 Sustainable Development Goals aiming to end poverty, reduce inequality and differences, and protect the planet. These goals as whole serve as main aspects that can lead to well-being and happiness.

UAE celebrated the day like all the countries but on our own way where His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE vice president, prime minster, and ruler of Dubai, issued the National Happiness and Positivity Charter expressing that UAE government believes that fulfilling happiness is a fundamental, humanitarian target to all peoples where it represents a comprehensive approach towards the development and welfare and an effective path towards a better world.

He added that happiness is the ultimate goal of UAE government that is always working on preparing the appropriate environment to make the individual, family, society happy and instill the positivity in them to enable them to fulfill their dreams and aspirations and all of this is achieved through the policies, projects, and services of all authorities.

UAE government works on measuring the happiness and ensure the fulfillment of the social and economic development and the sustainable and inclusive environment in order to achieve happiness and welfare for the current and upcoming generations. Besides, it works on consolidating the culture of happiness and positivity as a lifestyle that complies with the aspirations, expectations, traditions, and culture of UAE community in cooperation with the government, community, and private institutions.

UAE citizens and non-citizens have very positive morals and always seek to select and fulfill happiness in their lives, their family lives and their institutions. Through this spirit, they promote the economic development and the cultural and social prosperity and appear as a role model of the happy and positive all over the world. UAE government aspires to play a key role in the international efforts specified to fulfill happiness and positivity and to be a global center and destination for it.

Happiness is not a wish or goal but a lifestyle

When we examine the details of the National Happiness and Positivity Charter, we will find that His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum focused on some strategic points and wanted to instill its impacts in UAE local community and the first of these points is that happiness is a lifestyle and not a goal where it’s an approach we follow and respect its results and has measurement tools and performance indicators. He also added that happiness is not fulfilled by using external factors but it stems from the goodness and positive values inherited in the individual and it also forms an essential part of his national identity and his relation to his vital surroundings.

The charter also includes the challenge and perseverance that we are accustomed to from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum where he is always saying that I and my people like to be ranked first. He has succeeded to retain the first place on the Arab level and advanced on the international level since the first year of the launch of the World Happiness Index by United Nations. His Highness employed this spirit to encourage the public sector entities and private sector companies to compete to instill the concept of happiness and make it a lifestyle that has measurement and development tools.

In addition, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum highly focused on the concept of education and this indicates his respect for education as the most important vehicle to change and develop the society where he says “We are at the beginning of our journey, learning day-by-day to achieve goodness and happiness for the individual. We wish happiness for all the people and countries in the world.”

Happiness is not a job but a passion and lifestyle

The questions that are raise now is what shall we do? And from where shall we start?. His Highness for sure answered these questions by placing a road map for the public institutions, private companies, and those who want to follow his steps to achieve happiness for people where it is considered one of the most important goals of the Social Responsibility.

The National Happiness and Positivity Charter, that serves as a road map for unifying the concept of the happiness and positivity according to UAE prospective, consists of three main pillars: corporate happiness culture, happy and positive staff requirements, and corporate happiness and positivity indicators. It also commits all the federal government entities to set up Happiness and Positivity Council for fulfilling the community happiness, launching, implementing, and following up the relevant programmes and initiatives and enhancing happiness and positivity in the internal work environment.

Besides, the charter aims to allocate time for happiness and positivity activities to instill this culture between the employees of all their grades and appoint Happiness and Positivity CEO in every federal government entity to promote happiness and positivity culture in the entity as well as coordinate with the office of the Minister of State for Happiness to implement the initiatives of the National Happiness and Positivity Programme, manage the initiatives and projects to enhance the happiness and positivity of the staff and customers, and launch programmes to classify the work environment in the public and private sectors according to its happiness level.

People’s happiness is a social responsibility

On the other hand, UAE is the first country to launch Ministry of Happiness, the happiness index, The National Happiness and Positivity Charter, etc. However, as His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum said “We are at the beginning of our journey, learning day-by-day” where we work on developing the standards to measure the community happiness level and help the government place the policies and programmes that can fulfill happiness for the people. Besides, the happiness resources differ according to the target groups, ages, races, cultures, etc. Happiness is a relative concept and the community cohesion is one of the most important factors of happiness so the government will be able to measure the value of the community cohesion in UAE. The positivity is the other face of happiness; namely no happiness without positive thought and no positivity without a clear vision for happiness.

The positive person is always a happy person and this is one of the happiness values. In UAE, we always deal with matters from a positive perspective. Happiness can be described as a reflection of the degree of satisfaction with life or as reflection of the rates of the recurrence of the pleasant emotions and its intensity. We cannot say that happiness is the opposite of misery, for instance if a person’ s happiness is fulfilled through particular requirements, we cannot say that this person will become unhappy in the absence of these requirements, happiness is a relative concept as we mentioned above.

UAE aspires to contribute to the development of the international organization to make people happy through the social responsibility where when you know the people’s need, you will be able to work on fulfilling it, make them happy in return and measure this happiness. The government’s role revolves around make all the classes of the society happy.

UAE seeks to deal with the international challenges for achieving happiness for people and support United Nations Development Programme to achieve happiness for all the countries. the Secretary-General of the United States Ban Ki-moon states in his message on the occasion of the International Day of Happiness that in this time where there are cases of serious injustice, devastating wars, mass displacement, poverty as well as man-made catastrophes, this constitutes a global opportunity to emphasize the need to give priority to peace, welfare, and happiness and this matter relates more to the individual satisfaction confirming that we have a collective responsibility towards humanity which means that everyone has responsibility towards the peoples of the earth where the world has become a small village.

In addition, Ban Ki-moon stated in his message that Sustainable Development Strategic Plan 2030 forms an effective plan to provide a decent life for all the people and that through promoting the progress made to fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals, we can help spread the happiness and ensure peace adding that the best way to celebrate the International Day of Happiness that taking the necessary measures to relieve suffering.

We see that all the humanitarian initiatives that launched by UAE, especially the initiatives of where His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, comply with the new Sustainable Development Goals 2030 in cooperation with the offices of United Nations and regional organizations to enhance transparency, fulfill the highest degree of the benefit, increase their satisfaction, and instill the happiness among them. Thus, United Nations calls every one of all ages and classes, governments, and business sector to cooperate to fulfill happiness.

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