Speech of UPU Director General Masahiko Metoki at the WSIS 2022 Forum Opening Ceremony

Geneva, 31 May 2022

Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

Let me begin by saying that achieving the ambitious targets of the Sustainable Development Goals requires a convergence of the digital and physical worlds to ensure that everyone can reap the benefits. This is where the UPU is committed to WSIS and the development agenda – bridging the digital and physical worlds.

The UPU, and the postal sector we represent, have shown their resilience during this terrible COVID pandemic. Posts have introduced contactless services to protect postal employees and their customers. Posts continued to service society with ICT enabled government services to distribute financial relief, social payments, distribution of protective equipment, vaccines and other medical products. Posts support for e-commerce at the national and international level has shown that it can be a strong partner to help small and medium businesses during difficult times, to be digital multinationals.

Ladies and gentlemen, I wish to emphasize that Posts are critical national infrastructures for social, economic and digital inclusion. The UPU represents an industry that employs over six million people worldwide. With a network of over 650,000 post offices in urban, rural, and remote communities, Posts provide physical, financial, and digital services to billions of people worldwide every day. Posts provide the all-important human touch for an inclusive digital economy.

The UPU is ready to partner with all stakeholders in WSIS to meet ambitious development and inclusion targets.

Over the next four years, the UPU will make available over 10 million CHF for the modernization and digitization of postal services and work with our member states to implement innovative technical solutions to collect and share data securely for postal transactions. UPU technology solutions are enhancing paperless trade worldwide. Over 170 countries use UPU solutions to monitor the postal traffic.  We are proud to be recognized in this week's WSIS Champion Prize for the UPU Customs Data Mobile App to support cross border e-commerce and paperless trade transactions.

Our recent council session concluded that more should be done to accelerate the digital transformation of postal services. The lack of high-speed internet connectivity is hampering communities' economic and social development in many parts of the world. Posts are feeling this lack of progress.

I call upon all governments represented here to provide the necessary support for digital transformation and modernization of the postal infrastructure in their countries, including connectivity of post offices. Together, the digital and physical networks will bring about real inclusion, resilience and well-being. But it needs both worlds working together in harmony. Our UPU commitment to WSIS is bridging the digital and physical worlds for inclusion and resilience.

Thank you for your attention.