The organization’s annual World Post Day ceremony, held 7 October in Berne, shone a spotlight on climate action in the postal sector and beyond.
The 2022 theme for the UPU’s annual awareness day was “Post for Planet”.
“Action on climate change will also drive progress on social and economic development goals. We must think about our impact beyond our offices, our networks and our borders. Every person, business and nation on this planet has a stake in this fight,” said UPU Director General Masahiko Metoki in his annual World Post Day address.
In a special message on the day, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, “’Post for Planet’ is also a call to action for the postal sector to use its position as a connector between governments, businesses, and people to take a leading role in our fight against climate change.”
The ceremony was also opened with special video messages from World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Petteri Taalas, UPU Council of Administration Chair Isaac Gnamba-Yao, and UPU Postal Operations Council Chair Jean-Paul Forceville.
Acknowledging postal excellence
The ceremony first recognized the leaders, rising stars and regional champions in the UPU’s Integrated Index for Postal Development, published in the UPU’s Postal Development Report 2022, which was released on 7 October.
“The report we have unveiled today shows that 2021 was a positive year for postal development. In many countries, the postal sector has not only demonstrated its resilience to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has shown its ability to adapt and find new avenues for innovation and growth – growth that we should build together in a sustainable way, not at the cost of our planet,” said the UPU Director General.
Using postal big data and statistics from 172 countries, UPU’s Postal Development Report 2022 features a comparative index providing a comprehensive overview of global postal development across four dimensions: reliability, reach, relevance and resilience of postal services.
Austria, China, France, Germany, Japan and Switzerland were recognized for reaching the highest tier of postal excellence. Armenia, Egypt and Estonia received recognition as rising stars for having made highest year-on-year score progressions compared to the previous year. Cameroon, Colombia and Saudi Arabia were recognized as regional leaders in the 2022 index.
International Letter-Writing Competition
Thirteen-year-old Esra Sümeyye Öz from Türkiye was awarded first prize in the Universal Postal Union’s 51st International Letter-Writing Competition for Young People during the World Post Day ceremony. Her letter on climate change addressed to all mothers won the hearts of the UPU’s international jury panel.
Reaching out to households across the globe, Esra writes, “My teacher asked me to write a letter to an influential person to draw attention to the climate crisis. I think that mothers are the most influential people in the world. A mother shapes the world, raises generations, changes societies.“
Announcing the award, UPU Deputy Director General Marjan Osvald said, “Esra’s message is clear: the change starts with us. The values we pass on to the next generation will contribute drastically to their ability to sustain our planet.”
Nisal Nasser Salem Al Rawahiyah from Oman was awarded second prize for her letter to Oman’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources, while Guyana’s Bryaneliza Latchman, 11, received third place for her letter addressed to the country’s president.
Young writers from Algeria, Cyprus, Georgia, Sri Lanka, and Viet Nam each received special mentions in the competition for their letters.
Commitments for 2030
To close the ceremony, guests from the Swiss diplomatic corps joined UPU staff to inaugurate a time capsule featuring messages for their vision for a sustainable future.
Esra was invited to include her letter in the capsule, which also contained a copy of the UPU’s recently passed Congress Resolution C 17/2021 on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the postal sector.
The capsule will be opened in 2030, in line with the culmination of the UN Agenda for Sustainable Development.