Speech of Deputy Director General Marjan Osvald at the Handover Ceremony of the Universal Postal Union

Berne, 5 January 2022, 11.00, Heinrich von Stephan Hall

Mr. Masahiko Metoki, Director General of the UPU
Mr. Isaac Gnamba-Yao, Chair of the Council of Administration
Mr. Hussein,
Mr. Clivaz,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to be here today as I begin my work as the Deputy Director General of the Universal Postal Union.

My warm congratulations to Mr Hussein for his leadership of this organization, and also to Mr. Clivaz — my predecessor. Thank you, Ambassador Hussein. Thank you, Pascal.

I must admit that as I stand here today before you, I feel not only deep respect but also a huge responsibility. When presenting my vision as a candidate of the Republic of Slovenia I always emphasized not just accountability, but also transparency and business ethics.

I believe in the importance of these principles as the drivers of any successful sector.

Today, my first step in achieving these goals is to take the UPU oath in front of you all.

 “I solemnly swear to exercise in all loyalty, discretion and conscience the functions entrusted to me as an international civil servant of the Universal Postal Union, to discharge these functions and regulate my conduct with the interests of the Union only in view, and not to seek or accept instructions in regard to the performance of my duties from any government or other authority external to the Union. I also solemnly declare and promise to respect the obligations incumbent upon me as set out in the Staff Regulations and Rules.”

The role of the postal operators and postal services in society is changing. The developed world was fortunate enough to move through evolution and liberalization from traditional letter and parcel delivery companies to logistics and ICT companies. Less developed countries have not been that lucky. They have moved from few or almost no letters in the past to the widespread use of smartphones today. However, what all countries have in common is that the status of the postal services and the Post as an institution in the society largely depend on the owner, mostly the state.
During my term of office, I will therefore encourage responsible owners to define the role of the Post in their environment and to support its development. The Universal Postal Union will thus guide, coordinate and help members to enhance the quality and importance of postal services. Our task is to connect our customers, private and business. Let’s not forget that the infrastructure we have is the best in the world.
Your excellencies,
Postal services are a part of the communications market where letter-post items seem to be increasingly losing their relevance. E-mails dominate modern communication and may soon turn letters into an insignificant communication tool ‒ a boutique romantic accessory. And while the new technologies substitute the traditional mail, they generate new parcel volumes through e-commerce, forcing the designated national postal operators to transform their traditional business models into sustainable commercial businesses that not only use their own resources economically but also strive to reduce any negative environmental or social impacts in their countries and around the world.
Solidarity has been an important connecting factor in our network in the past. What is the essence of solidarity? That those who have more give to those who have less. Very simple. Without it, those who are deprived cannot progress and the gap between the developed and the underdeveloped world only increases. So, it should be our mission to find a model of solidarity that will reduce the differences between us.
Every intergovernmental organization sooner or later needs to face the fact that the world around is changing faster than it wants it to. This is especially true for the Universal Postal Union. We are all aware of this and we know that we will need to change and adapt if we want to survive and succeed in a digital society that is not only coming but is already here.
Ladies and Gentleman,
I first entered this building in 1997, exactly 25 years ago. I can still remember how impressed I was by it. It looked so majestic. I felt deep respect and this feeling has not changed to this very day.

Therefore, to the UPU staff, the chairs of the POC and CA, the committees and taskforces, the restricted unions and above all the member countries, I promise you that I will work with all of you in the very best interests of the Universal Postal Union.

Happy New Year and thank you.

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