Riyadh, 1 October 2023(Check against delivery)
Your excellency, Mr Saleh Bin Nasser Al Jasser, the Honourable Minister of Transport and Logistic Services of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,
Distinguished Ambassadors and Heads of Delegations,
Esteemed Delegates, Colleagues and Observers,
It is my supreme pleasure, in my role as Secretary General, to address today’s Extraordinary Congress in the presence of UPU member countries and all concerned parties.
In particular, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for offering to host this Congress, under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and all those involved. In addition, I wish to express my appreciation for the warm welcome and hospitality that you have accorded to us all.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was designated as host country by the Council of Administration in October 2022, with the support of many member countries.
Immediately following that decision, the International Bureau, as the Congress Secretariat, held numerous face-to-face and remote meetings with the team from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to make preparations.
This was by no means a simple process, and we encountered discrepancies in expectations and information on both sides on more than one occasion.
However, with the common goal of holding a successful Extraordinary Congress, we have worked hard together and deepened our mutual understanding in order to make today’s meeting possible.
I would like to express my deep respect and appreciation to the team from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for their understanding and cooperation, as well as to all relevant staff members of the International Bureau for their dedication in making this Extraordinary Congress possible.
As you will be aware, it was decided at the Abidjan Congress in 2021 that we would hold this Extraordinary Congress to address some specific but fundamental topics, on which it was felt that more time and work was needed to build consensus.
The relevant mandates and scope of the discussions for this Extraordinary Congress are defined in Abidjan Congress resolutions C 11/2021 on further reform and opening of the Union to wider postal sector players, C 16/2021 on the UPU finances and C 17/2021 on climate action in the postal sector.
We have all worked hard over the last two years to try to build consensus on these matters. We have conducted many studies to ensure that our decision making this week will be evidence-based, held countless meetings to further understanding and iron out differences, and undertaken extensive outreach activities to ensure the inclusion of various views and perspectives.
The fruits of our labour have been made possible only through the leadership shown by the co-chairs of the various groups responsible for the work, the manifold contributions of member countries and, of course, the substantive and procedural support provided by International Bureau staff members. I wish to express my deepest gratitude to all of you.
I believe that the proposals before you this week address the views of the majority of Union member countries. It is my sincere hope that, in the spirit of the UPU’s traditional value of compromise, we can all find common ground to approve these proposals here in Riyadh.
I would like to ask for your cooperation in making this a successful and productive week and, as Secretary General of the Congress, I undertake to do my utmost to contribute to that end.
Thank you very much for your kind attention.