Bucharest, Monday, 10 October 2022Honourable Ministers, Your Excellencies,
Distinguished delegates, Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great honour to participate in this plenary session of the ITU Plenipotentiary and to have this opportunity to speak on behalf of the Universal Postal Union in the wonderful city of Bucharest.
I wish to express my sincere gratitude for the efforts of the ITU Secretary General, Mr Houlin Zhao, and the ITU secretariat for their preparations, as well as to the Government of Romania for hosting this Plenipotentiary.
The ITU and the UPU have a long history and share a strong relationship. Both organizations have played a key role in connecting people and ensuring inclusiveness over the centuries. Both took root in the Swiss capital of Berne at their inception around 150 years ago, and we remain true sister organizations to this day, with many shared policy objectives and joint initiatives.
The postal network is crucial to the world’s social, economic and cultural development. During times of crisis and in the face of natural disasters, pandemics and conflicts, postal services keep communities connected and functioning. Posts deliver government relief, health services, food and educational supplies, and help businesses to continue trading – thanks to ICTs.
Digital transformation and sustainability are two megatrends that emerged in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the crisis arising from global conflicts. The UPU is encouraging the postal sector to embrace ICT with a view to achieving sustainable digital inclusion, financial inclusion, the inclusion of small and medium-sized enterprises in e-commerce, and cyber-protection of the postal network as critical national infrastructure, as well as ensuring member countries’ contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals.
However, with almost half of the world’s post offices not yet connected to the Internet, these benefits remain at risk in many member states. A strong partnership between the postal and telecommunication sectors will help countries to achieve full and meaningful Internet connectivity.
I firmly believe that, by working together, we can help to strengthen not only the ITU and the UPU, but also society as a whole, to benefit, in particular, the millions of disadvantaged people in all communities.
In closing, I wish to congratulate Ms Bogdan-Martin on her election as the new ITU Secretary General, Mr Lamanauskas as the new Deputy Secretary General, and Mr Maniewicz, Mr Onoe and Mr Zavazava on their elections as Bureau Directors. We look forward to working with you to deliver meaningful connectivity and sustainable digital transformation for all members.