Postal Innovation Platform Meeting

Speech by UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein, Istanbul, Turkey, September 19 2016

Dear participants,

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of the Universal Postal Union. I wish to thank the leadership of Postal Innovation Platform for inviting us to this forum. As one of the founding partners, we always value our relationship with PIP. Indeed, the work of PIP is very much in line with UPU’s focus to modernize and transform the postal business worldwide.

Since the beginning of the partnership in 2013, the UPU has worked very closely with PIP in addressing initiatives that are aimed at improving the postal business in the face of serious competition. We are aware that competitors of the Post are being spurred by use of technology and innovation to attract more customers. The Post, therefore, has no choice but to compete on the same platform.

The presence of our executives at the panel of discussion at this forum is guided by our focus to work together with PIP in trying to find solutions that will help the post business adopt innovative ideas to new products and services.

This forum is very timely as it is coming just before the beginning of the UPU Congress, where the main focus of discussion will centre on our newly developed vision for the next four years and beyond. The Vision 2020 is anchored in three pillars, namely innovation, integration in inclusion.

Our members in all UPU regions have adopted the Vision 2020 and we expect the Congress will approve it. The key areas where we expect Vision 2020 to facilitate quick solutions is in the area of electronic commerce and financial services. These also happen to be the highest growth areas for the post worldwide.

On top of the UPU vision, we have also embarked on a major transformation initiative, which we hope will make the Union as well as the postal business more flexible and adaptive to new ways of doing business. In this regard, we have started by reforming the working environment at the International Bureau of the UPU to make it more result driven and encourage innovation.

Moreover, at the Congress one of our major topics of discussion is the reform of the UPU to align not only with the posts business on the ground but also make it efficient and more responsive to the changing trends in the market. Just as the post stands to be driven out of business by new entrants if it fails to transform and innovate, the UPU risks losing its role and relevance to its members if it doesn’t reform in tandem with the dynamics of the market.

Our postal business is more vulnerable than ever before and is at the risk of becoming irrelevant unless it finds better ways of addressing its customers. In the words of Brene Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate School of Social Work, “vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”  The Post will only save itself from vulnerability by changing its way of doing things. Please join us by encouraging everyone in the postal world to seek change.

Even though the post today still holds substantial latent advantages over its competitors, this will not spare it from the onslaught of competitors who are more focused on addressing the rapidly changing customer needs and expectations. We believe our collective efforts will help save the situation.

In this regard, I do hope the close collaboration between PIP and the UPU will assist in carrying out studies in various areas of interest within the post business to make it best address the needs of the industry both in the developing and developed market.

I would like to inform you that the UPU has partnered with various other international bodies like UNCTAD, ITU, IFAD and the Gates Foundation to address key challenges facing world trade and business in a bid to deliver Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. The post has a big opportunity to participate in the delivery of the SDG results.

We invite other partners, and especially PIP, to work together with us so as to influence positive change within the post industry and make it contribute more to addressing the wellbeing of citizens of the world as well as the national development agendas of all countries.

In conclusion, I wish to pledge UPU’s continued support to PIP to ensure it continues serving as a useful think-tank for our postal business. We greatly value your role. 

I wish you fruitful deliberations.

Thank you