Ohood Bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness speaking at a session “Happiness as we perceive it” on the second day of Arab Media Forum at Dubai World Trade Centre on Wednesday. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is not an accurate tool to measure well-being and development, a top UAE official said during the second day of Arab Media Forum here on Tuesday.

Speaking during a session on ‘Happiness as we perceive it’, Ohood Bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness, said  she is always asked how many people work in the happiness ministry.

“We do not have a ministry of happiness, happiness is the job of every single government employee, so we have more than 90,000 employees and our budget is the budget of the UAE,” she said.

Al Roumi said the UN always depended on economic indexes such as the GDP to measure well-being and development in countries, but in 2011 they issued a decision that the GDP was not an accurate way to measure well-being and development and that happiness should be used to measure those indexes.

Adding that if there is a region that needs happiness and hope, it's the Arab region. “Do you think those terrorists who blow up themselves and others, even at religious and sites, are happy? All conflict is rooted in intolerance,” she said.

Happiness isn't a philosophy it's serious work, she said. 

The moderator asked Al Roumi, "How happy is the minister of happiness?"

She said the short answer is yes, she is very happy. "When I was first named the minister of happiness, everyone around me told me that this means you'll always have to be happy and smile. That's not true. We're all human and  we have emotions and ups and downs. But we have to wake up every morning and take a conscious decision Tobe optimist I and positive and see the world through a positive lens," she said.