Signing of the cooperation agreement with the International Narcotics Control Board

Speech by UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein on the occasion of the signing of the cooperation agreement between the Universal Postal Union and the International Narcotics Control Board, 19 April 2018, Berne, Switzerland

President Dr. Viroj Sumyai, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I warmly welcome you to this momentous signing ceremony of a cooperation agreement between the Universal Postal Union and the International Narcotics Control Board.

INCB has been working since 1968 to ensure the adequate supply of drugs for legitimate uses, such as the relief of pain suffering, while monitoring the controls on chemicals used in illicit drug manufacture and helping to preventing trafficking in illicit drugs.

Throughout that period, it has championed people’s health against a threat that causes misery to women, children and men, as well as communities everywhere.

It is also why we have come together today during the Postal Operations Council.

People are suffering. People are dying.

Highly toxic illicit drugs, deadly chemicals, including synthetic opioids, are causing worrying increases in the numbers of overdose deaths.

Sixty-four thousand deaths caused by overdoses in the United States in 2016.

And that is just one country among many.

A growing number of these deaths are connected to fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances; some of which are so toxic that a dose equivalent to a single grain of salt can cause death or permanent injury.

This is a serious concern to both myself and UPU, because of the safety and security of postal workers and the possibility that the entire postal supply chain may be jeopardized.

UPU, through its mission to guarantee the free circulation of postal items over a single territory, has always taken action to prevent Posts being used as a means to transport illicit drugs.

Today, however, the scale and the scope of the challenge is growing and we need to act.

It requires a multifaceted joint response, founded on cooperation and partnership across the UN family and far beyond.

We have already worked with agencies such as the World Customs Organization, International Civil Aviation organization and International Air Transport Association to develop guidelines and standards to prevent the flow of dangerous goods through the Post.

Today’s cooperation agreement is another strong platform for this ongoing coordination and cooperation.

The agreement builds on the core competencies, knowledge and experience of the two organizations to promote effective technical assistance and training.

Efforts designed to increase cooperation to confront the traffickers and their deadly trade, as well as improve the detection and seizure of the substances.

As we go forward, UPU will benefit from INCB’s information on trends and patterns in drug movements and known sources of dangerous chemicals, as well as alerts on substances of concern.

President Dr. Viroj Sumyai, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

With more than 600,000 postal outlets, over 5 million employees, around 300 billion parcels and letters delivered annually, the post is one of the world’s largest logistical operations.

UPU is proud to work with INCB and to leverage this unique postal network to protect postal employees, and the health of people everywhere.

Thank you.