Addressing the world initiative
Addresses form an important part of the basic information needed to ensure communication (both digital and physical) between individuals, governments and organizations. As a basic global network, addresses enable individuals to be connected to everyday life, allowing them to have a legal identity, participate in the democratic process, be a part of the formal economy, receive public and private services, benefit from e-commerce and participate in the information and communication age. Addresses are the underlying threads connecting all different actors and their activities, effectively functioning as a network of networks.
In the last few decades, developing countries have witnessed an explosion in rural-to-urban migration. Because of this rapid and uneven shift in population distribution, governments are often unable to identify or locate individuals and places, resulting in incidences of poor land tenure, an increase in informal settlements and the official "non-existence" of individuals. The Commission on the Legal Empowerment of the Poor reported that as many as four billion people worldwide are unable to enjoy their full rights as citizens because they often lack an identity. These individuals are often the most poor and vulnerable.
Mindful of the fact that many countries still lack a countrywide address infrastructure, the UPU's "Addressing the world—An address for everyone" initiative aims to enlighten major addressing players of the importance of address infrastructure while helping them to better understand the challenges associated with addressing. The "Addressing the world" white paper summarizes major findings in these areas.