“For years, we have kept you out of the building,” UPU DG says at opening of forum on wider postal sector engagement

14.02.2020 - Delivering a powerful, but also personal message to the private sector representatives attending the High-Level Forum on wider postal engagement, the Director General of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), Bishar A. Hussein told them: “For years, we have kept you out of [the UPU] building.” He said it was time for change.

Photo: Sophia Bennett

The UPU Chief said the postal sector faced radical and profound changes in ways that he believed few in the industry had experienced in UPU’s 145-year history. Liberalization, privatization and the tremendous surge in e-commerce, he said, are transforming the sector and introducing a range of new players involved in the supply chain and final delivery.

He said the UPU needed to produce a blueprint for drawing these new postal players, while maintaining the duty to provide a postal service to everyone on this planet (known as the Universal Service Obligation or USO). Mr Hussein reiterated the need for the postal sector to be “competitive, innovative and prosperous.” 

“We are open to dialogue. This forum is a key milestone in our history, and I am here today to listen, to take note and to benefit from your experiences,” he told the audience of representatives from governments, regulators, designated operators, the private sector, civil society and international organizations.

The UPU has long recognized the need for change. In 2004, the UPU created a Consultative Committee with representatives of the wider postal sector. However, the UPU Chief said there was an urgent need to accelerate the process.

He said a Task Force has been set up to propose the way forward and outline steps enabling the UPU to deepen private sector engagement. Task Force recommendations are to be fed into the strategy developed for the next four years of the UPU’s business cycle. The strategy is to be agreed by member countries at the 27th Universal Postal Congress in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 10-28 August.  

Walter Trezek, Chair of the UPU Consultative Committee, the body responsible for wider sector engagement, also spoke during the opening session. He said the UPU was finding solutions for the moving forward and said the postal organization stood for both universality and unity. 

Speaking during the Forum’s second session on the UPU value proposition to wider postal sector players and partners, Pascal Clivaz, the Deputy Director General of the Universal Postal Union, said, “It was time for us to show our commitment to change.” 





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  1. Dirk at 19.01.2016
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