Since the Abidjan Congress in August last year, the UPU’s Quality of Service Fund (QSF) team has been working hard on developing the procedures for the new Least Developed Countries Special Account which was approved during the 27th Congress.The aim of the new LDC Special Account is to create a long-term sustainable funding stream that prioritizes the countries’ special needs. The account was set up to ensure that no one is left behind in the postal sector.
“Since its inception in 2001, the QSF has been a stable source of funding for development projects aimed at improving quality of service, strengthening weak links, and enhancing the sustainability of the UPU global postal network,” Gaurav Mehta, Expert, QSF Projects said.
As of 31 December 2021, 909 QSF projects have been implemented or are currently being implemented by the beneficiary designated operators. In brief, the QSF manages contributions from member countries, which are then dispersed to finance postal development projects in developing countries.
These projects mainly focus on fulfilling the critical requirements of the operators in terms of mail conveyance and delivery, the modernization and reorganization of mail processing facilities, IT, and security. “These are the key operational development areas that will help developing countries bridge the gaps with the more developed counterparts,” Mehta added.
Helping to bridge the gaps is exactly why the USPS has played an important part in QSF fund management as a member of the board of trustees since the fund launched in 2001.
Speaking on behalf of the United States as Chair of the QSF Board, Michaela George, who is also Manager of International Accounting Operations at the US Postal Service (USPS), said, “The QSF is important because our postal network is only as strong as our weakest link. The QSF can assist designated operators with insufficient capacity by providing finances to support participation in the global postal supply chain. In turn, the improvements created enable partner posts to retain and grow their international customer base and volumes.”
One way the QSF has helped bridge the gap is by supporting developing countries and LDCs with the implementation of the UPU’s Global Monitoring System. Since 2010 there have been 13 multinational projects related to the System. The aim of these projects is to help operators improve their quality of service in line with the targets set by the UPU.
Alongside the new LDC Special Account, the QSF also has the Common Fund, which was adopted at the 26th Congress in Istanbul, Turkey. This is an additional funding mechanism which mobilizes resources for global projects and extends their scope to cover all critical e-commerce elements. One of the most important Common Fund projects is Electronic Advance Data (EAD), which will support operators with handling new customs regulations.
There are more than 144 participants currently participating in the EAD project which aims to empower operators to implement the Customs Declaration System and transmit messages about postal items. Approximately USD 3 million has been allocated from the QSF for the project, which involves activities such as the implementation of the Customs Declaration System, the provision of tools and equipment and capacity building.
George concluded, “I would like to encourage QSF beneficiary countries to utilize their funding to implement quality of service improvement projects. In particular, the Electronic Advanced Data project is available to provide support for operators working to comply with international laws and, specifically, the US STOP Act in providing the data needed to keep our common mail stream safe and thereby ensuring that mail volumes containing goods can continue to enter the United States and that commerce and free trade continue unimpeded."