1. Equitable and equal socio-economic development
2. Preservation and promotion of cultural and spiritual heritage
3. Conservation of environment and
4. Good governance which are interwoven, complementary, and consistent.
These pillars embody national and local values, aesthetics, and spiritual traditions. The concept of Gross National Happiness is now being taken up the United Nations and by various other countries.
Crucial to a better understanding of Gross National Happiness, is its wider reach and awareness amongst other countries, and the various indices that have now been formulated to include material gains in their assessment of the country and lastly, the growing need to synthesize the moral with the cultural values as the core of economic policy.
Gross National Happiness as a development paradigm has now made it possible for Bhutan to take its developmental policies into the remote corners of the kingdom and to meet the development needs of even its most isolated villagers, while still accentuating the need to protect and preserve our rich environment and forest cover. The policy of high value, low impact tourism has facilitated the promotion and preservation of our cultural values.
Furthermore, the concept of Gross National Happiness has greatly enabled the pursuit of development, while at the same time promoting the attainment of happiness as the core philosophy of life. For the government, it has facilitated the drive towards self sufficiency and self reliance, the ultimate reduction in the gap between the rich and the poor and ensuring good governance and empowerment of her people as one of its key directives.
Following the international seminar on Operationalizing Gross National Happiness held in Bhutan in February 2004, the participants began working to establish a Gross International Happiness Network, indicating the influence of Gross National Happiness beyond the Bhutanese Borders.
The Network attempts to find the best examples of sustainable development that incorporate values reflecting the general well-being of the people. The GNH Network is a collaboration of the following institutions:
• Center for Bhutan Studies, Bhutan
• Spirit in Business, USA and the Netherlands
• Social Venture Network Asia, Thailand
• ICONS, Redefining Progress & Implementing New Indicators on Sustainable Development, Brazil
• Inner Asia Center for Sustainable Development, the Netherlands
• The New Economics Foundation, UK
• Genuine Progress Indicators / GPI Atlantic, Canada
• Corptools/Values Center, USA
• International Society for Ecology and Culture, UK