Since the foundation of Bhutan, spirituality and compassion have been integrated with governance. Furthermore, this integration has occurred at both the personal and the institutional level. This report opens by tracing the history of this imaginative integration, which was crystallized by His Majesty the Fourth King into the idea of GNH. As Bhutan has developed and encounters with other societies expanded, the spirituality of compassion that earlier was embedded in civil servants’ via personal practice has been made more explicit, more articulate and uses modern technologies. One expression of this is the development of the GNH Index, which opens a wider angle onto people’s lives. Survey data are used to provides information on all of these relevant areas. And the GNH Survey and Index are used to clarify areas in which the conditions for happiness exist and those where public action is required to establish the conditions of happiness. As the GNH research of the Centre for Bhutan Studies is designed to inform action, the first chapter also describes the associated policy and programme screening tools as well as other actions by which GNH has been advanced.
The remainder of this report presents the findings of the 2015 Gross National Happiness (GNH) Survey, which collected information from across Bhutan on many aspects of Bhutanese people’s lives that relate to wellbeing measurement and analysis. The Survey was used to construct the 2015 GNH Index, and to compare levels and the composition of GNH across groups, and across the period 2010-2015.
The GNH Survey and the GNH Index created from it are designed to guide actions to advance GNH across Bhutan This report, called A Compass Towards a Just and Harmonious Society, presents the detailed findings from the survey for use by both experts and the general public. It also gives strong guidance for action in public policy, by the private sector, and among civil society organisations.