Opening ceremony of the Second Extraordinary Congress, September 2018

Speech by Amb. Bishar Hussein, Director General of UPU, during the official opening of the Second UPU Extraordinary Congress, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 3 September 2018

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Your Excellency Dr. Mulatu Teshome, the President of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Your Excellency Ms. Ubah Mohammed Hussien, the Minister for Communication and Information Technology of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Your Excellencies Ministers responsible for postal affairs from UPU member countries,

Distinguished Ambassadors and heads of delegation,

Dear delegates and participants,

Invited guests and members of the media,

Ladies and gentlemen,

This is a great day for all of us at the Universal Postal Union and the Postal fraternity in general. I am delighted to see all of you here to attend this great occasion.

It is a pleasure to witness the second ever UPU Extraordinary Congress in more than 100 years taking place here in Addis Ababa. I wish to thank the Government and the people of Ethiopia for making this happen.

Indeed, we are all grateful to Ethiopia for the enormous resources that have been spent on this Congress; the good organization and excellent hospitality accorded to all participants. Thank you for supporting UPU by facilitating this meeting to take place in the beautiful city of Addis Ababa; the capital city of Africa.

Your Excellency Mr. President, this is the first time a UPU Congress has been held on the continent of Africa. We are glad it is taking place in Ethiopia; the cradle of mankind, the country of very rich cultures and friendly people. The Congress is also taking place when Ethiopia is marking 110 years of membership to UPU. Thank you for rising to this challenge.

Mr. President, distinguished participants,

The Second Extraordinary Congress was mandated by a resolution by our last ordinary Congress held in 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey. The Congress mandate was to discuss and make decisions on five key issues that could not be resolved in Istanbul. These issues were considered by members to be of great importance to the Union and the postal business. It was, therefore, important to resolve them urgently without having to wait for the next regular Congress in four years’ time.

Ladies and gentlemen, in the next five days we will focus our attention mainly  discussing these five items namely: the Implementation of UPU’s Integrated Product Plan as well as the Integrated Remuneration Plan, Reform of the Union, Reform of the System Applied to the Financial Contribution by UPU Member Countries, and the Sustainability of the UPU Provident Scheme.

I am happy to report that a lot of work has been done on these subjects through the relevant taskforces and working groups to prepare for this Congress. I am very grateful to members, who have been involved in discussing these subjects for the good work done. In the last two years, we have seen high quality discussions on the topics. Let me take this opportunity to thank China, France, Kenya and the United States of America for leading discussions on these topics.

I do hope and expect the spirit of compromise and consensus building that has been exhibited during the preparatory discussions will prevail here at the Congress and enable us to achieve our objectives for the benefit of our Union and the postal industry. I am hopeful we will get good results. It will not reflect well on all of us if after additional years we still fail to achieve our goal.

Indeed, successful conclusion of discussions on these topics will have far-reaching positive effects on the future of the Post and our Union. I, therefore, call upon all of us to continue with the commitment already shown in the last two years and let us together transform this Union.

Your Excellency Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, for efficient utilization of our resources, we have incorporated the usual mid-term strategy review to be part of this Congress. The Ministerial Strategy Conference will be held on Thursday and Friday. Apart from recapping on the implementation of the Istanbul World Postal Strategy, ministers will also share their perspectives on building sustainable postal business through progressive policies, regulation and investment. We look forward to these sessions that will set the pace for our future strategy.

I wish to thank ministers who will be panelists in this forum for taking their time to share with the rest of the membership their ideas for building a vibrant postal industry for our citizens. We welcome all ministers present to participate in this high level forum that will give direction to way the Post will develop in the coming years.

Your Excellency the President, in recognition of the heavy schedule ahead of us during these few days, I wish to conclude my remarks here. My colleagues from the International Bureau will be at your disposal to assist in all issues related to this Congress. This is a paperless Congress and all documents will be accessed electronically. Please contact our IT team in case of any difficulties encountered.

I wish you good and fruitful deliberations.

Thank you for your attention.