It has been an honour to lead the Universal Postal Union (UPU) through some of the most tumultuous years of the UN specialized agency’s history.
I am particularly pleased that my last Universal Postal Congress as the UPU Director General is in Africa and celebrates the region’s advances in postal development.
As an organization, we have delivered on almost all the targets of the Doha Postal Strategy and the Istanbul Postal Strategy. Indeed, in the last four years, the Deputy Director General Pascal Clivaz, myself, and with the full support of member countries, have delivered almost 99 per cent of all our targets.
Due to the extensive and inclusive preparations for the Abidjan Postal Strategy, I am confident that the next cycle (2022-2025) will be just as constructive as the last. One of our most enduring achievements in the past two cycles has been the breakthrough in the remuneration discussion made at the Third Extraordinary Congress in Geneva. Thanks to the hard work of International Bureau staff and the commitment of member countries, we found a solution.
Another success was the agreement on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) decided in Addis Ababa. The UPU finally reduced the financial contribution rates provided by SIDS. This will increase their capacity, allowing them to be fully involved in the UPU decision making.
In Addis Ababa, members finally agreed on the longstanding debate on the reform of the Union. With that decision, the Union will now have a more balanced regional representation in its decision-making bodies. The Integrated Index for Postal Development (also known as 2IPD) has also promoted greater recognition of Posts among governments. It has shown nations that Posts can help them meet their socioeconomic development goals, if they receive the necessary funding.
Posts have also offered an incredible response to the recent challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone involved in the international postal sector has shown courage, innovation and resilience during these difficult times. In doing so, Posts have reinforced their role and relevance not only in national development of individual countries, but also in world trade in general.
I am also delighted at the way Posts have played a role in contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as promoting their incisive role in generating e-commerce and trade.
Nevertheless, as we transition to Abidjan to forge new agreements and resolutions, there are also fresh challenges ahead. One of these is the need for our postal family to reflect the tremendous changes that have occurred in the industry. Today, the industry is not what it was 20 years ago; in fact, it is not the same industry a mere two years ago.
The industry is changing fast, so must we. This is why I have dedicated the final years as Director General to encouraging the UPU to embrace the wider postal sector players. I have done so not only as a means of upholding our single global postal network, but also as a means of promoting UPU’s products and services that are the keystone of this extraordinary UN specialized agency.
It will be a win for the entire industry to come and work together. It will be a win for UPU and, certainly, a win for customers for whom we all work to serve better. This decision will be taken at the Abidjan Congress. As we move ever closer to the 27th Universal Postal Congress, I wish you a safe journey and look forward to welcoming you in Abidjan.
--Bishar A. Hussein, Director General of the Universal Postal Union