Opening of the UPU Ministerial Conference

Opening remarks by UPU Secretary General Bishar A. Hussein, Istanbul, Turkey, 4 October 2016

Dear delegates, participants, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to welcome you all to the 2016 UPU Ministerial Conference.

Apart from the excellent facilities that have been put in place for our work, the government and the Turkish Post authorities have ensured our life in Istanbul is also enjoyable. On behalf of all the participants to the 26th UPU Congress, I wish to express our profound gratitude and appreciation for all the facilitation.

We are working under fantastic conditions, and with incredible support from our Turkish friends, who continue to spare no effort to create this exceptionally conducive work environment. 

The Istanbul Congress will not only go down as a landmark event for our organization and the postal sector, but will also remain in our hearts and in our memories as the event where business and pleasure blended with amazing results. This is a great Congress in a great city.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today’s event is the UPU’s second Ministerial Conference after the inaugural one in Doha in 2012. We have kept the event in our global postal calendar as the main highlight of the Congress. The Conference provides a unique opportunity for the postal world to meet, listen and interact with the key decision-makers in our member countries as they share their views and perspectives on the role of the postal sector in economic and social development. The UPU is proud to be associated with this event and I wish to take this opportunity to thank all the ministers and speakers who have kindly accepted our invitation to participate in this conference.

Your Excellences, Ministers and Vice-Ministers,

As leaders of the world Posts, your direction, insight and guidance at this forum today will be central for the future of both our sector and our organization. Your participation is an honour to the postal industy and the Universal Postal Union.

The topics of discussions today have carefully been chosen to reflect the role of the post in national development of respective UPU member countries in the light of a changing business environment. The topics also reflect the future focus of the UPU. We will also be greatly privileged to listen to perspectives of the role of the post in development from various countries as shared by the ministers present here today.

This Conference comes at a time when the postal sector is experiencing exciting as well as challenging times of its existence. Technological development, coupled with fast changing customer needs are radically changing our business landscape,  creating both enormous challenges and tremendous opportunities for our sector to transform.  This new context represents a chance for Posts to be even more relevant in the future as the trusted intermediaries and vehicles connecting governments, citizens, businesses and territories. 

As a precursor to this conference, the UPU last month held the first ever World Postal CEOs' forum, where the realities of this fast-changing environment and the need for governments and Posts to work together even more closely were stressed. Mr Philippe Wahl, CEO of France’s La Poste Group, who hosted the CEO Forum, will share with us the main messages from the forum this afternoon. 

Your Excellencies,

As you are aware, a year ago, member states of the United Nations adopted  an ambitious global development roadmap for the next 15 years, entitled “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.

The postal sector is part of this global transformation initiative and is playing its role in the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set and approved by the international community.

These universal goals have been incorporated at all levels of development and are being delivered through the participation of economic and business sectors, civil society, international and development organizations. The goals are integrated, covering the three dimensions of sustainable development of environmental, social and economic nature. The Sustainable Development Goals will serve as plan of action for prosperity, and as reference to measure economic growth and social progress for all countries.

This will be the common thread of our discussions today. For almost every one of these goals, postal networks around the globe are already providing solutions – either alone or in partnership with others sectors and networks.  

Fostering social and financial inclusion, facilitating trade and commerce, and delivering innovation and the information society to all are the key areas of the postal contribution to this world agenda for development. These areas of focus underline governments’ priorities and are also indicators for governmental investment and policy, and for international development partners and donors.

This forum’s discussion is centred around inclusion, trade and the digital economy. These are three drivers of national development that the post is involved in delivering with the Sustainable Development Goals.

From Europe to Asia, and from Africa to America, we will hear policymakers sharing their experience and views, and focus for the future of the Post as a key tool to support public policy, create growth and foster inclusion. We will also hear insights from the heads of international organizations, including the International Telecommunication Union and the World Customs Organization – two key partners for the UPU and the postal sector.      

Excellences,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The 26th UPU Congress has approved the Istanbul World Postal Strategy, the strategic roadmap for the next four years that focuses on postal transformation. It integrates the Sustainable Development Goals and sets the way forward for our organization towards inclusion, integration and innovation. 

The outcome of the Conference is expected to greatly enrich this roadmap and guide our work with full support of governments.

Lastly,

Excellences,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We do recognize that the key to the Post successfully facilitating a transformative link to national development lies in its ability to transform its business focus. Reform is thus a big agenda item not only in this Congress but in the larger postal world. Our success as an industry and an organization will greatly be determined by our level and willingness to reform.

I look forward to fruitful deliberations.

Thank you for your attention.