At conference closing, UN official says innovation key for future of global postal sector

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Participants at the UPU World Strategy Conference in Geneva. Photo: UPU/Pierre Albouy

15 April 2015 – The head of the United Nations Universal Postal Union (UPU) has urged the international community to build over the next five years a postal world where innovation is “shared, promoted and driven for all” while helping to boost global efforts in achieving the sustainable development goals.

“My ambition is for us to deliver together by 2020 a postal world in which our sector’s unique ability to include populations, economic actors and territories is fully recognized and exploited by governments, development partners and international organizations,” UPU Director-General Bishar Hussein declared in his closing remarks to the UN agency’s World Strategy Conference.

“Innovation and the integration of networks, products and services are key to building a seamless postal network in line with the changing global environment.”

Traditional mail has declined in importance for postal services in recent years, while logistics and financial services have grown in importance. E-commerce has boomed and parcel volumes have increased, too, fuelled by changing consumer behaviours, brought about by new technological applications.

Letter-post volumes have traditionally accounted for the bulk of postal revenues but in 2013 they dipped below 50 per cent of total revenues for the biggest 20 Posts in the world. In addition, UPU data shows that Posts are increasingly handling more merchandises than documents, an indication of the impact of e-commerce on the postal business. The Director-General has previously underlined the importance of seeing the new reality as an exciting opportunity, rather than as a constraint.

Addressing the conference delegates, Mr. Hussein warned that the current postal paradigm required a “profound transformation” at all levels with governmental, regulatory and operational actors embracing innovation full-on by 2020.

This, he added, would help facilitate quicker and more efficient decision-making processes throughout postal organizations worldwide, including the UPU itself.

“The UPU and Posts must change,” he continued. “The UPU and Posts will change. Together we will move the world.”

The UPU Director-General added that his agency and its members were hearing the message “loud and clear” and promised that the organization would build on its existing e-commerce programme to increase the reliability of postal networks, the predictability of service delivery and the transparency of products and services for international customers, according to a press release.

In addition, the conference highlighted the importance of the global postal network in extending social, financial and economic inclusion for citizens around the world.

Among the 135 UPU member countries are represented at the Strategy Conference are 20 ministers as well as many regulators, postal executives, leaders of labour, trade and migration organizations and representatives of United Nations and other international organizations.

Established in 1874, the Universal Postal Union has its headquarters in Berne, Switzerland’s capital. It is the world’s second oldest intergovernmental organization and has been a United Nations specialized agency since 1948.

Source: United Nations


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