UPU reaches for the sky in Post-airline partnerships

In an interview with UPU News on International Civil Aviation Day, UPU Security Programme Manager Dawn Wilkes explains how UPU is working with the International Civil Aviation Organization to ensure a robust partnership between the Post and airlines.

Why is it so important that the Post and airlines work together?   
It is integral for posts to effectively collaborate with all external stakeholders, but particularly with airlines as the bulk of post and parcels is transported via air and air carriers. An effective cooperation and understanding of each other’s objectives and challenges allows for a robust relationship to ensure all partners are successful. 
How is the UPU working with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)?
The UPU established a Contact Committee with ICAO in 2018 and has met annually since its inception, either in person or virtually, due to the current travel restrictions. The UPU has continuously strengthened its relationship with ICAO by integrating into its meetings on aviation security, as well as its dangerous goods panel, to ensure posts have a voice in those meetings and to create an in-depth understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities of postal operators.  
Both sectors faced some substantial challenges at the beginning of the pandemic. Where are we now and what have we learned from this experience?  
There were significant challenges at the beginning of the pandemic which highlighted the dependence on air carriers and cargo belly capacity, which was non-existent for a long period of time. This wreaked havoc among many postal operators. The UPU has worked with surface and rail carriers to create a harmonized, multi-modal approach to transport which will benefit all. 
What improvements or initiatives are these two organizations focusing on at the moment?  
Currently, the UPU is working with ICAO to ensure civil aviation authorities have an understanding of their local postal operators along with other stakeholders involved in the supply chain. We are also working to ensure the safety of the supply chain through developing guidelines for equipment containing lithium batteries as well as exploring methods of communication between posts and civil aviation authorities to ensure dangerous goods do not make their way onto planes via postal items. 
The theme for International Civil Aviation Day is "Advancing Innovation for Global Aviation Development." How is the UPU helping contribute to innovations in the civil aviation sphere with regards to mail transport and security?​  
The UPU is working with the civil aviation sphere to create a smooth electronic communication system to advance the security and safety of the supply chain and develop global aviation. This is done through adherence to the global postal model, a framework for electronic advance data exchange throughout the global supply chain, ensuring that all partners are able to communicate via a standardized model in a rapid and seamless manner.
How can this partnership contribute to the Sustainable Development Agenda?  
The partnership between posts and airlines contributes to a sustainable development agenda by advancing work on two of the SDGs. First, the partnership contributes to Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) by facilitating the rapid growth of e-commerce, allowing individuals and small businesses to improve their economic situation by enabling them to reach the world’s population at minimum costs. This partnership also facilitates work towards Goal 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) through the continuous work the UPU and air carriers conduct to improve their electronic communication infrastructure and ensure a safer and more secure supply chain.
Learn more about the UPU-ICAO partnership here.