Some 2,000 representatives from 155 countries participated in the Congress, where they discussed more than 450 proposals.
Among the results of their deliberations was the adoption of the Istanbul World Postal Strategy, which sets the course for the UPU’s work over the next four years.
The strategy—based on integration, innovation and inclusion—strives to improve interoperability of postal network infrastructure, ensure sustainable and modern products, and foster market and sector functioning.
“The message to us has been that the UPU must transform and the Post must be able to transform itself if we are to be relevant in the future,” said UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein.
“We have a dynamic society that’s changing by the day and technologies that are causing some disruption to the way we do business. We must be able to be agile and flexible in the way we do business,” Hussein remarked.
For his part, PTT Corporation CEO, who chaired the Congress Kenan Bozgeyik thanked member countries: “With your vision and your participation we were able to pave a brighter future for our industry.”
Member countries also adopted the Istanbul Business Plan, which guides the implementation of the Istanbul World Postal Strategy by setting work proposals, targets and financials for carrying out the strategy’s goals.
The plan will be finalized, taking into account all adopted work plans and decisions made regarding the UPU budget.
The closing ceremony also provided a venue to celebrate 2016 UPU International Letter-Writing Competition winner Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, who received a standing ovation from member countries after reading her award-winning letter aloud.
Trang, a 15-year-old student from Viet Nam’s Hai Duong province, won first-prize for her touching letter written in the voice of Alan Kurdi, a young Syrian boy whose lifeless body was found ashore in Bodrum, Turkey. His image was shared widely across global media and social media as an example of the horrific measures faced by refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria.
“My forty-five-year-old friend, you still remember our story, do you not? We followed our parents to flee from the war and violence of our hometown in Kobani, dreaming of a ‘promised land’ in the European sky. Yet that dream ended only twenty minutes after the ship departed,” she read.
“I’m out of breath by the very words and moving tribute this young lady has given to that image we have all seen,” said the UPU Director General.
This year’s theme had asked children to write a letter to their 45-year-old self. The theme was in commemoration of the 45th anniversary of the competition.
The Istanbul Congress designated Côte d’Ivoire as the host of the 27th Universal Postal Congress in 2020. It will take place in Abidjan.
Member countries also decided to hold an extraordinary Congress in 2018, where they will debate issues left unresolved at the 26th Congress, such as the reform of the UPU. The event will be hosted in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
“We are en route to Abidjan with a stop-over in Addis Ababa. The course is set and our enthusiasm and dynamism remain untouched,” said UPU Deputy Director General Pascal Clivaz.
The 26th Universal Postal Congress was held between 20 September – 7 October.Congress 2016, International letter-writing competition