Happiness carnival at City Walk. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News archives

Dubai: The National Wellbeing Strategy 2031, which was adopted by the Council of Ministers in its last meeting chaired by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, will include 90 initiatives to be implemented by various government entities over the next 10 years.

Uhood Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness and Quality of Life and Director-General of the Prime Minister’s Office, said the Strategy 2031 reflects a new government approach focusing on individuals in the UAE and make them the focus of policy development and key partners in designing initiatives and services that enhance wellbeing and promote happiness.

She added that the strategy aims to achieve balance and readiness towards potential future challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and its effects on wellbeing.

She said the strategy constitutes a valuable addition to the efforts in institutionalising the thought leadership of Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid and his future vision which embodies a comprehension notion of wellbeing that is based on a government that prioritises the wellbeing of individuals and communities as a basis for development, and also reflects Shaikh Mohammad’s directions of to all government entities for wellbeing to be a collective endeavour and a shared responsibility, and for it to be at the core of their agendas to ensure cohesive, healthy and happy communities.

She said the National Programme for Happiness and Wellbeing will play a supporting role for the efforts of the entities in enhancing wellbeing in various sectors — in addition to coordinating and aligning the efforts to achieve the objectives and directions of the National Wellbeing Strategy.

The strategy sets clear roles and responsibilities for implementation across all government entities, and aims to achieve collaboration with the private sector.

It includes a number of tools and enablers to establish a new approach.

These tools focus on enhancing the positioning of the UAE and its leadership along global comprehensive wellbeing indicators including an integrated monitoring of wellbeing in the UAE, empowering government employees and other individuals through wellbeing concepts and practices, and establishing a government model as a unified platform, which consolidates the roles of the various entities in enhancing overall wellbeing.

In addition, the tools focus on the development of a scientific and practical approach to manage behaviours that enable government policies and programs that promote wellbeing.

She said the programme has launched a number of initiatives supporting the concepts of wellbeing in various sectors. These includes the Happiness and Positivity Medal, the School of Life initiative which is an academy to enhance good life skills, the community design initiative which was organised in partnership with 20 government and private entities to enhance partnerships between government, private sector and community in designing purposeful initiatives to promote wellbeing in the UAE.

Other initiatives include the Happiness and Wellbeing course in partnership with Zayed University, the Well Schools Network in partnership with the Ministry of Education, the Well-Community initiative in partnership with Shaikh Zayed Housing Programme, and the Child Digital Safety in partnership with the Ministry of Interior, in addition to “Let’s Talk” which covers student support groups to enhance student wellbeing in the UAE schools.

The National Programme for Happiness and Wellbeing laid the foundation of the National Wellbeing Strategy 2031 based on the Emirati understanding of Wellbeing in addition to a number of directions which are based on wellbeing as a key measure of sustainable development in society, in addition to the adoption of a government approach linking various sectors to enhance wellbeing with clear roles and responsibilities for government, private sector, and citizens in order to react to the various potential future changes that affect wellbeing.

The National Wellbeing Strategy includes 90 supporting initiatives which will be undertaken by various government entities over the coming 10 years, and is based on the National Framework for Wellbeing which includes three main levels which are the nation, community and Individuals, along 14 dimensions and nine strategic objectives focusing on the livability, attractiveness and sustainability of cities and regions, connected communities, positive and purposeful digital communities, embracing wellbeing in places of work and study, in addition to the values of giving and an altruistic society. The objectives also underscore the importance of living an active and healthy lifestyle, promoting good mental health, encouraging positive thinking and building good life skills.

Four enablers for a comprehensive wellbeing

The National Wellbeing Strategy 2031 assigns clear roles and responsibilities to various entities. It develops a business model that places wellbeing at the centre of government work in the UAE depending on four main enablers.

The first enabler is around an integrated monitoring of wellbeing through the National Wellbeing Observatory, which monitors the performance of the UAE on wellbeing indicators, develops an annual report on wellbeing status in the UAE and submits it to the UAE Cabinet on an annual basis, and prepares pre-emptive studies on the concept of wellbeing as perceived by community members and groups to support the government policies-making initiatives and projects that aim to improve wellbeing.

The second enabler is empowering government employees and society members, in addition to spreading the culture of wellbeing and capacity building through the Wellbeing Academy for Future Generations. The Academy will train government employees on wellbeing principles and the means to promote them using government policies and programs. It also includes launching the School of Life, which is the first government school worldwide to focus on individuals’ wellbeing, raise awareness on the important life skills, and achieve a positive impact on citizens’ lives.

The third enabler entails creating a dedicated platform to enhance the role of the Government through partnerships and collaboration with the private sector and the society to enhance wellbeing through the National Wellbeing Council, which will coordinate and manage the National Strategy for Wellbeing and enhance integration between the various entities and sectors. This will further boosts strategic partnerships with the private sector and enables individuals to design their own wellbeing model by establishing community wellbeing centers that supports community design of policies and initiatives on various topics related to wellbeing.

The fourth enabler focuses on developing a practical scientific methodology to influence behaviours through government wellbeing programs and policies leveraging UAE Behavioural Sciences Lab, and using future foresight and behavioural experimentation tools to promote policy-making using a deep understanding of individual behaviour that motivates community members to adopt wellbeing concepts.

14 main dimensions

The National Wellbeing Strategy builds on 14 main dimensions covered by the three levels. The first level includes a Flourishing Nation, focusing on five dimensions, namely prosperous economy; efficient and effective government in the fields of education, health, social services, security, safety and the rule of law; government work flexibility, reliability, efficiency and transparency; building vibrant liveable cities and communities; establishing a sustainable lifestyle that preserves national resources; supporting a vibrant and diverse national culture by organising cultural and recreational activities; maintaining the national identity and cultural diversity, and fostering a connected community.

The second level, Connected Community, covers five dimensions including cohesive and stable families with strong positive relations and robust values; cooperative community characterised by strong ties and positive values; and promoting Emirati culture and identity. It also aims to create positive harmonious environments for work and education, empowering individuals and providing them with opportunities for growth and development, and focusing on building secure, meaningful, positive digital communities.

The third level, Individuals’ Wellbeing, includes four dimensions: active and healthy lifestyle that promote physical health, healthy lifestyle and nutrition options, good mental health, positive thinking, and good life skills.