The 27th Universal Postal Congress – held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire – closed on 27 August, welcoming new changes to enhance the postal sector between 2022 and 2025.Speaking at the closing ceremony of the Congress, Côte d’Ivoire’s Prime Minister Patrick Achi congratulated participants for “finding innovative solutions that effect the long term viability and survival of the Union.”
The Congress reviewed more than 200 proposals on a range of issues aimed at improving the effectiveness and efficiency of international postal services and the operations of the UPU. Member countries convening at Abidjan meeting took key decisions on the organization’s strategy, opening the UPU to wider postal sector players, defining a new remuneration system and improving postal development.
The Abidjan Congress was the last for current UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein and Deputy Director General Pascal Clivaz. The pair were first elected during the 2012 Doha Congress, receiving a second mandate in 2016 in Istanbul. In January 2022, they will pass the torch to Director General-elect Masahiko Metoki, from Japan, and Deputy General-elect Marjan Osvald, from Slovenia.
Speaking on achievements made in his two mandates during the closing ceremony, the Director General said, “I have always known change is never easy and that the pace of change in the postal sector was not going to allow us to become complacent.”
Mr. Hussein thanked member countries for their “respect, guidance and support.” Speaking about the incoming UPU leadership, he said, “I have no doubt they will fly this organization to new heights.”
The Congress made headway on a number of issues that will see improvements to the postal industry and the work of the UPU.
One highlight was the approval of the Abidjan World Postal Strategy, a guiding tool that will see the UPU strengthen its position as a forum for postal development, a provider of innovative solutions and an industry knowledge centre. The strategy forms the basis for the UPU’s work over the 2022-2025 period.
Member countries advanced their work on opening the UPU to wider postal sector players during the Congress, agreeing to hold an Extraordinary Congress in 2023 to take concrete decisions on the organization’s opening strategy. In the meantime, the Congress approved a series of changes to strengthen the Consultative Committee – an arm of the Council of Administration, through which wider postal sector players are able to participate in UPU dialogue.
Remuneration was another hot topic for the Congress, which reviewed and adopted a new Integrated Remuneration System that will set the basis for a more integrated, modern and forward-looking postal remuneration system. The system will take effect in January 2022.
The 2022-2025 cycle will also usher in improvements to the UPU’s development cooperation efforts. The Congress adopted a new development cooperation policy allowing the UPU to engage in larger-scale projects that will be incorporated into national development policies. An additional Quality of Service Fund (QSF) account approved by the Congress will allow the UPU to carry out additional development projects in the least developed countries.
The Congress was the first regular quadrennial meeting to be held in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as the first to be held in a hybrid format, with more than 1,000 delegates participating in person and another 1,000 online.
The next Universal Postal Congress will be held in 2025 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.