The world is now in the midst of a major policy debate about the objectives of public policy. What should be the world’s Sustainable Development Goals for the period 2015-2030? The World Happiness Report 2013 is a contribution to that crucial debate.
In July 2011 the UN General Assembly passed a historic resolution. It invited member countries to measure the happiness of their people and to use this to help guide their public policies.
Taking a look at the rankings it is immediately clear that moving to Scandinavia from almost anywhere in the world is going to improve your chances of being happy. Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland are all in the top ten.
More of a concern is where to go if you happen to be heading to North Africa. Tunisians tumbled from 87th in the rankings and are now officially grumpy in 104th spot. The "objective" criteria such as GDP (and having heaps of oil) probably go someway to explain why Libya is found in the 78th place . The tumultuous - and dangerous Libya - rose compared to 2012 when it was ranked the 81st.
Morocco (previously 105) rose up and broke through the 100 barrier to take the coveted 99th position. However, although Algeria fell a couple of places from the previous report, they remain the happiest people in North Africa despite The Economist reporting that their capital is one of the top ten least liveable cities in the entire world. Then spare a thought for the Egyptians - they are deeply unhappy. They sank from 101 in 2012 to 130th.
Elsewhere, Syria is way down in 148th place but still better than Togo on the bottom - 156