APPU EC meeting, Da Nang, Viet Nam, June 2018

Speech by the UPU Director General, Bishar A. Hussein, at the opening ceremony of the Asian Pacific Postal Union Executive Council meeting, 25 June 2018, Da Nang, Viet Nam


Your Excellency, Mr. Nguyen Minh Hong, Honourable Vice Minister for Information and Communications of the Government of Viet Nam

Mr. Pham Anh Tuan, Chairman of the Board of Management of Viet Nam Post

Mr. Hossein Nemati, Chairman of APPU, Executive Council

Mr. Hongliang Lin, Secretary General of APPU

Dear delegates,

Distinguished participants,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure for me to address the opening ceremony of the 2018 APPU Executive Council meeting here in Da Nang, Viet Nam. I am very grateful to the Ministry of Information and Communications of Viet Nam, Vietnam Post and the APPU Secretariat for inviting the UPU and me at this important event. We highly appreciate the good organization of this forum and the warm hospitality that have been accorded to my team and me. 

The Asia-Pacific is one of the largest regions of the UPU. It is home to over 4 billion people (more than half of the world population) and a postal network of 361,069 permanent post offices, which represents more than half of the global postal network. The region is also the highest contributor to the global e-commerce at 46.5% of B2C online transactions.

The e-commerce in the region is growing at double digits annually with China alone reportedly registering over 17 billion US dollars online sales per day and transacting 1.1 billion packages daily.  E-commerce and financial services are the areas of great growth potential for the post and I am glad this region is a leader in both areas.

Mr. Chairman, distinguished participants, I wish to inform you that UPU, through the Regional Development Plan for Asia-Pacific for the 2017-2020 cycle, is in the process of defining the region’s priority projects to determine the necessary actions to be taken to improve quality of service and, through an integrated postal supply chain approach, help designated operators improve their operational readiness for e-commerce.  All the developing countries in the region will benefit from this key project.

During the current 2017 - 2020 cycle, UPU has so far organized two workshops on “Operational readiness for e-commerce” in Bangkok and one workshop in Nadi, Fiji just last week with great success. Last week we also organized a UPU Sub-regional workshop on important UPU policy issues for the South Pacific countries, on QSF Issues and on Postal Financial Services in Nadi. These four meetings were attended by representatives from all the nine member-countries in the sub-region.

I am happy to inform you that during my visit in the sub-region last week, I was privileged to meet the Presidents of Fiji and Vanuatu and the respective ministers in charge of the post in the two countries, as well as, all the Heads of the DOs.  I witnessed very high-level determination among the players in the sub-region to develop the post business.  I also appreciated the many challenges that these posts face. Due to the small economies in most of the respective countries, there is very low-level investment going to the post within the sub-region.

Another challenge the posts face is transport infrastructure to cover the many islands that form each of these countries. The sub-region is also prone to natural disasters that from time to time destroy and disrupt postal infrastructure. In fact, three days ago we suffered an earthquake of a 6.1 magnitude while visiting Port Vila in Vanuatu.

It is on this note I wish to thank Japan for their technical assistance in disaster risk management programme. This new assistance supports up to 50,000 Swiss francs for disaster preparedness initiatives. I urge the countries in the region that have suffered badly due to natural disasters to make the best use of this technical assistance by sending in their aid proposal to UPU for consideration. 

As a result of some of these problems, four out of nine of the South Pacific island countries are under sanction due to non-payment of their due contribution to UPU. Some debts run into many years and it's a real concern whether these countries will ever be able to pay up.

I do hope that the Congress proposal on the change of contribution system for UPU members will help address some of these situations and have a more realistic determination to guide membership contribution levels.  To this end, I wish to call upon APPU members to help build consensus in all the proposals going for the Addis Ababa Congress. Adoption of those proposals will be of great benefit not only for governance of UPU but will also help the growth of postal businesses.

Before I conclude my remarks, allow me to thank the APPU under the leadership of your Secretary-General, Mr. LIN Hongliang, for continuously supporting UPU in the implementation of projects in the area. Recently UPU and AAPU enhanced this relationship through the renewal of the cooperation agreement. By this agreement, APPU is now helping UPU with the designation of the regional project experts for the key project for operational readiness for e-commerce for the 2017-2020 cycle.

Finally, Mr. Chairman and distinguished participants, I wish to apprise you on the key developments at the UPU since the Istanbul Congress. As you will recall the Congress endorsed a number of proposals that aimed at creating more efficiency in the working structure of the Union.

We have started implementing these measures with marked success. As approved by the Istanbul Congress, we have introduced working methods that have led to result-oriented meetings and reduced overlaps in decision-making functions of our two councils.

Moreover, our work can now be measured effectively at every session to determine our levels of success. This has been very useful for the member-countries and the International Bureau as we can now determine areas of weakness and intervene in good time. On this score, I would like to thank members of UPU from this region for actively supporting our reform proposal that has brought about all these benefits.  

We are now in the process of addressing what we consider to be the final phase of our reform agenda that is mainly centered on members’ representation to the various bodies of the Union as well the decision-making levels of the working structures. I am grateful to China for spearheading the process of reform discussions very efficiently. I am optimistic that with your support we should be able to get this proposal endorsed in Addis Ababa.

My colleague, Mr. Clivaz, will later share with you the progress in the preparation work for the September Congress and I wish to call upon the APPU members continue providing leadership to ensure all the five proposals to the Congress get supported and concluded.

With these few remarks, I wish you fruitful deliberations and thank you for your attention.