POC Plenary S7, February 2020

Welcome address by the UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein at the POC Plenary, 20 February 2020, Berne

Chairman of POC Mr. Masahito Metoki,

Vice-Chairman of the POC, Mr. Ahmed Kada,

Distinguished members of POC and observers,

Ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of the International Bureau, I welcome you all to the seventh and last Plenary meeting of the POC for this Congress cycle.

It feels like it was just yesterday that we were all in Istanbul! We are now on the verge of landing in Abidjan.

When we started this Congress cycle, no one ever imagined that the journey from Istanbul to Abidjan would take two detours – through Addis Ababa and Geneva. The journey has been quite fast, with many challenges and opportunities along the way.

But together we have accomplished much, achieving positive results that we can all be proud of as we head to Abidjan.

The radical and profound changes facing the postal service are indeed unprecedented as the world goes through major transformation occasioned by the fourth industrial revolution, which is characterized by a smart digital economy.

In this regard, as we have long recognized that we should open our minds to new ideas and innovations by collaborating with wider postal sector stakeholders, while preserving the integrity and core mission of the UPU.

The POC has taken strides to facilitate collaborative work with postal stakeholders by providing greater access to UPU products and services. More specifically, Customs authorities, airlines, and ground handlers now have access to UPU tools and standards enabling greater interoperability and synergy between the various stakeholders and the UPU.

By providing greater access to UPU products and services we are already moving forward with our plans to open up the Universal Postal Union to other postal sector players. This will open new opportunities for designated operators.

An important further step in these plans was taken last Thursday during a High-Level Forum, the outcomes of which will be incorporated into the overall discussions on the UPU’s future strategy.

Now, as we come to the end of this Congress cycle and look forward to the next, I would like to highlight some of the notable results we have managed to achieve:

1.        The introduction of new working methods;

2.        The realization of the remuneration reforms; and

3.        The development and implementation of a clear roadmap relating to Electronic Advance Data (EAD).

We have made remarkable progress with the new working methods, which have brought more clarity, predictability, transparency and accountability to the way that we do our work. We are now talking about targets, deliverables and sessions.

In every session we have been able to report on progress achieved. In this last session of the POC, for example, the deliverables matrix has enabled us to focus on the remaining work so we know when we go to Congress we can show results and achievements.

This is yet another testimony that the UPU is able to adopt rapidly to the dynamics of the time:  the rhythm of our work is different, with not only an increase in the frequency of productive meetings but also in the quality of decision-making; with less documents, and more progress.

Remuneration reforms should also be counted as a remarkable achievement in this cycle. Member countries came together in Geneva in September and adopted a proposal, known as “Option V”, by acclamation.

The UPU is now on a clear path towards the integration and modernization of an Integrated Remuneration System (IRS).

Member countries have provided their input, including last week during the World Round Table on Remuneration, and proposals will be presented at the 2020 Congress in Abidjan for approval.

The other remarkable achievement of this cycle that I would like to highlight is the progress made with the implementation of Electronic Advanced Data.

The exchange of EAD is critical to the postal supply chain since most of the new regulations requiring the provision of EAD are coming into force this year and in 2021.

The UPU Global conference on cross-border cooperation in an e-commerce world held in Xiamen, China, affirmed the importance of a multilateral dialogue and partnership to implement EAD and realize a seamless postal supply chain for both domestic and cross-border e-commerce.

In closing, I would like to express my appreciation to the chairs and co-chairs of the POC Committees, user-funded subsidiary groups and the standing groups for their hard work and leadership.

I would also like to thank the IB staff for their effort to support the heavy workload that has enabled us to achieve these results.

I wish to assure you that the International Bureau will provide any necessary support for the smooth transition of working groups from this cycle to the next one.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wish you effective deliberations and a successful outcome of your activities.