PUASP’s Regulatory Affairs Committee – A step forward in postal regulation and reform

The restricted union covering the Americas, Spain and Portugal, which I have had the honour to lead starting this year, has taken a major step forward in its work on postal sector regulation.

This is evidenced by the recent creation of the Regulatory Affairs Committee (Comité de Asuntos Regulatorios) at the Curaçao Congress in October 2021.

We have set before us very ambitious tasks and objectives that are perfectly in line with the global guidelines embodied in the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and, regionally, PUASP’s 2022–2026 Strategic Plan. Moreover, this work takes into account the characteristics and specific needs of our member countries and territories.

As we all know, postal sector regulation and reform is a central issue since it provides the institutional legal framework for the development and delivery of services.

In the current rapidly changing context, regulation is a key aspect of postal sector organization, as it enables governments to understand and use new market trends for the benefit of citizens.

Postal regulation identifies and covers all postal sector stakeholders, provides tools to shed light on the market and the sector, establishes clear rules, determines the rights and obligations of parties, and protects consumer interests.

Regulation is not a new or even recent topic in specialized international forums; however, it has faced and continues to face major challenges related to our globalized, interdependent world, where heterogeneous sector players nevertheless share common interests – but without an overarching legal framework.

We are not talking about a set of rules covering providers of postal services – be they physical, financial, digital or other – but rather about structuring and regulating the most extensive global network of mail and merchandise flows that has ever existed. A network that serves as the basic infrastructure of a nation, directly affecting its social and economic development.

The new Regulatory Affairs Committee of the Postal Union of the Americas, Spain and Portugal (PUASP) is led by two members – Spain and Uruguay – from two different continents and with distinct circumstances, but both with proven experience in the area. By establishing the Committee, PUASP has made a grand leap forward that will undoubtedly lead to institutional and regulatory progress in the region over the next few years.

The vision is comprehensive, encompassing aspects including awareness raising among top country officials, training, key projects like the IPDP (integrated postal reform and development plan), monitoring mechanisms, computerization and digitalization of management, market studies, licensing and registration of operators, universal service, and cost accounting, as well as potential new products that keep pace with demand and the constantly evolving customer expectations.

Of course, although the Regulatory Affairs Committee comes under the auspices of PUASP, we will work in close cooperation with the Universal Postal Union, as strategic partners at the service of our countries. In this context, we feel that the regulatory experiences stemming from the committee’s activities may be of value to other restricted unions in similar situations.

We are convinced that we as international organizations should play a leading role in providing countries with the tools needed to reshape the institutional and legal framework of their postal sector. The tools that will eventually turn the sector into a solid structure bringing social benefit and progress.

For PUASP, dialogue, cooperation and hard work are the cornerstones of the active multilateralism that the world today needs in order to survive and evolve.
 Dr Franklin Castro, Secretary General, PUASP