Opening Ceremony, 26th Universal Postal Congress

Opening address by UPU Secretary General Bishar A. Hussein, Istanbul, Turkey, September 20 2016

Dear Participants,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to the 26th Universal Postal Union’s Congress.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank the Government of Turkey for accepting to host the 26th Congress in Istanbul. The resolve and determination of the Turkish government to organize the Congress at this time in its history is a testimony to their long-standing support for the work of this Union, which can only earn our respect, admiration and commendation.  As one of the founding members of the UPU, Turkey has demonstrated its support for the Union by not only hosting this Congress but by also fully funding all the logistical provisions for the event. It is the first host country to do so.

We are glad to be in Istanbul and have so far enjoyed our stay in this beautiful city that strides across two continents. 

I would also like to thank member countries and all participants present here for their support to make this event a success. Your attendance and participation will greatly enrich the event as well as the decisions taken here. 

Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, thanks to the good coordination between the Turkish Congress secretariat and the International Bureau of the UPU, the 26th Congress is going to be facilitated in a modern fashion and efficient manner, using state-of-the-art technology. To this end we will be delivering a “smart paper” Congress and I would like to call upon participants to use their electronic devices to access documents and the proceedings of this assembly. Our technical personnel will be on hand to assist whenever there is need.

We are moving the UPU towards a paperless environment for cost savings, efficiency, as well as preservation of the environment. Thank you, Turkey, for facilitating the first feel of this experience for UPU members.

The proceedings of this Congress are also being streamed live online so that those who did not come to Turkey can follow remotely. This will enhance participation to the event. 

This Congress is coming at a crucial time for our industry, when modern technology has dominated most of our hitherto traditional markets. Modern technology has for some time seemed a threat to the existence of the Post, but thanks to innovation in the industry, the Post is turning the situation to its advantage by diversifying its products to fit the new demands.

In the face of these developments, it has also become evident that the post requires new impetus that will help it create new products suitable for the changing needs of customers. We believe with its vast global network, the post is still a formidable industry that can contribute greatly to social economic development of nations.

I urge you to support the post by prioritizing it as a crucial infrastructure in your countries which is best-suited to bring service inclusion to small and medium enterprises that have been proven to be the nerve centers for development globally. 

To address the future of the Post, the UPU has developed a blue print that will guide the industry in the next four years and beyond. This blue print will be presented at this Congress for approval. The new direction is called Vision 2020 and focuses on three key pillars of Innovation, Integration and Inclusion.

It is my expectation that this Congress is going to play a key role in empowering and facilitating the Post to enhance its role in the overall development of our countries.  

With those remarks, I wish you good and productive Congress.

Long live the UPU.