The Emirates has moved up seven places in the World Happiness Report since last year…

We’ve got a Minister of Happiness and a ruler who even penned a book about the topic, so it’s no surprise that the UAE ranks highly when it comes to the contentment of its residents.

And now we’ve got concrete proof that the country is making strides when it comes to happiness.

The UAE has gained an impressive seven places in the annual World Happiness Report, moving from No 28 in 2016 to No 21 this year.

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That’s right – the Emirates is just shy of breaking into the global top 20 (something we feel pretty confident could happen come 2018).

The country was pipped to the post by Norway, which took the No 1 spot, followed by Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and Finland rounding out the top five.

uae empathy

Those Scandinavians, with their home saunas, excellent maternity leave, and awe-inspiring vistas always do rather well in these polls.

However the UAE is making pretty impressive inroads too, with its 2017 ranking making us the happiest nation in the entire GCC.

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(However Oman and Qatar were excluded from the report due to a lack of data).

The report looks at things like life expectancy, generosity, freedom to make life choices and the economic outlook to create its rankings.

The Emirates even got a shout-out in the report’s introduction for holding a World Happiness meeting earlier this year.

When it comes to the least happiest nations, the Central African Republic takes last place, with Burundi, Tanzania, Syria and Rwanda adding to the bottom five.

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The UAE has had a keen focus on the issue of happiness in recent times.

In fact, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has just unveiled the first ever World Happiness Council this week.

The group “aims to support international goals to standardise happiness as a measure of development, as we are doing in the UAE”, the royal stated on Twitter.

What’s more, in the last year Her Excellency Ohood Al Roumi was named Minister of State for Happiness, 60 CEOs across the country have been trained as chief positivity officers, and Sheikh Mohammed has even penned a new book all about “optimism and positivity”.

sheikh mohammed

It all ties in quite nicely to the UAE’s annual theme, with the next 12 months forming the Year of Giving.

The initiative, revealed by HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, aims to promote a culture of giving back to the community and to enhance the spirit of volunteering and loyalty to one’s country, according to WAM.

The philanthropic message is all based around the idea of helping others without expecting anything in return, said Sheikh Khalifa, which follows in the footsteps of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan.

The initiative will focus on creating a sense of “community responsibility” in the private sector, encouraging specialised volunteer programs to help social development, and “instilling commitment in the next generation to serve their country”.

You can read more about it here and here.

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Image: Getty