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08 December 2023

Abu Dhabi's leading position in World Happiness Report global testament to emirate's pioneering status: Department of Economic Development

Photo: WAM


Abu Dhabi's leading Arab cities in the latest edition of the World Happiness Report 2020 is an international testament to the emirate's pioneering status on the global scene, Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development said.

The World Happiness Report 2020 is an annual publication of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network made in partnership with the Gallup World Poll, an American analytics and advisory company.

The emirate, which has also been ranked in the 35th place of the report, outpaced numerous cities from across the globe as the report covers 186 cities in total. Moreover, the UAE continued to maintain a leading global position in the index with a 21st place ranking, outperforming many advanced countries and economies. This year's report reviewed the happiness of individuals across 156 different countries.

In statements on the new achievement, Al Shorafa said: "The results of this year's World Happiness Report demonstrates Abu Dhabi's leading global position and the high trust and confidence that society has placed in the emirate. The extensive efforts and initiatives undertaken by Abu Dhabi’s wise leadership and government, in cooperation with all public and private entities, continue to contribute to the happiness of community members and the enhancement of efforts to achieve sustainable development, sparing no effort in promoting individuals’ happiness and ensure their access to all means of wellbeing, increasing their trust in the emirate and enhancing Abu Dhabi’s profile as the destination of choice for working and living."

He added that the high ranking remains proof of the emirate's continued progress, both at regional and global levels. It also reflects Abu Dhabi's ability to boost the levels of happiness and wellbeing among community members in line with the goals of achieving sustainable development and maintaining a quality of life that falls under the standards set forth in the global sustainability agenda.

In this year's report, Abu Dhabi and Dubai ranked the happiest cities in the Arab region. The significance of this index is underlined by the fact than half of the world's population are urban dwellers and live in large cities. Cities are also the economic power centers, as 80 percent of the world's GDP is produced within cities.

The report also included a study that explores the relationship between the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, and wellbeing. In a comparative analysis between nations listed in the World Happiness Index and the Sustainable Development Goals index, the analysis showed a direct relationship between efforts to achieve the SDGs and reported happiness levels, where nations scoring leading positions in the World Happiness Index were also better performers in the SGD Index. The SDG Index is a global indicator that monitors countries ’efforts and readiness to achieve the 17 sustainable development goals, also known as the Global Agenda 2030.

The study also indicated to the importance of research to better understand the relationship between wellbeing in societies, and its implications on the Global Agenda, especially ones related to sustainable consumption and climate change.

In another special chapter in this year’s edition of the World Happiness Report, a study shows how natural environment can be a factor in raising happiness and wellbeing for individuals. An analysis of individual responses in the happiness polls indicated that preserving and maintaining healthy and natural surroundings, does support and elevate levels of happiness and wellbeing in societies.

The study indicated a number of key natural factors affecting happiness, such as weather, green spaces and water surfaces such as beaches and canals. The study documented an increase of happiness levels by individuals who live near green spaces or surrounded by natural trees, more than those who live far from any natural greenery. The same was also true for those who live overlooking water surfaces.

The study concluded that a healthy natural environment plays a role in raising the levels of happiness and wellbeing by presenting opportunities and experiences that instill happiness, such as recreational activities with family and friends in natural open-air surroundings.

The happiness index in this year’s report included 153 countries, through which the happiness levels were captured by surveying citizens and residents to assess their general life satisfaction levels. The report, which was first launched in 2012, saw Finland ranking first in the 2020 global index for the third year in a row.