Morning sessions at UPU’s forum on wider postal engagement spotlight how consensus drives solutions, organization's need to move with the times

14.02.2020 - At the first session of the Universal Postal Union’s High Level Forum on wider postal sector engagement, the audience heard from René Dönni from Switzerland, how consensus can help drive solutions for the UPU and the international postal sector.

Photo: Sophia Bennett

Mr Dönni said the Swiss people were living in an open economy and were dependent on the global economy. He said there was a need to consider innovation but also inclusion when opening up. The Deputy Director of the Federal Office of Communications (known as OFCOM) was speaking towards the end of the first session, which discussed the rationale behind opening up the UPU more comprehensively to the wider postal sector?

Earlier in the session, Mamadou Sanogo, Minister of Digital Economy and Post of Côte d’Ivoire, urged the UN specialized agency to open up to private sector providers. M. Sanogo said he viewed the process as “unstoppable.”

He noted that although E-commerce in Africa is not fully developed, there are well known brands emerging in Africa. This is a globalized sector and the UPU could have a better understanding of this and take advantage of its expertise, Mr. Sanogo added.

During his own presentation, Andrew Bremberg, the United States’ Ambassador to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, said it was important to create a roadmap for the change and then work backwards. Mr Bremberg said the decision taken last September in Geneva at the third Extraordinary Congress on postal remuneration rates was a positive step and a signal that the UPU was willing to adapt to the market. 

Invited by moderator Bernhard Bukovc to outline his own views, Yukata Kitagami, Director, International Affairs Office, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan, he noted that the UPU’s network in the e-commerce era was important to accomplish the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. “Member countries should listen to stakeholders ideas today to decide what is the best solution for the UPU,” he added.

In the second morning session, panelists discussed the UPU’s value proposition for the private sector and civil society, as well as the products, services that would be of interest.

Making a keynote presentation, Pascal Clivaz, the UPU’s Deputy Director General, made a passionate call for the UPU member countries to acknowledge the need to move with the times. He said, at present, around 80 per ent of the UPU’s products and services were closed to the wider postal sector. Using the International Telecommunications Union, as just one example, Mr Clivaz argued that “change was possible.”    

Keith Kellison, Senior Vice President, Global Public Affairs, UPS, pointed out that e-commerce offered tremendous opportunities but also tremendous challenges. He said UPS respected the USO, but it also needed to be quantified and defined. 

Adding the voice of the mailing and shipping industry, Kate Muth, Executive Director of the International Mailers’ Advisory Group emphasized the need for a reasonable dues structure and for the UPU to maintain a role for associations.

Noting that her appearance was probably a first at a UPU event at its headquarters in Berne, Annalisa Barbagallo, Head of government relations Europe, Alibaba group, highlighted the group’s structure. She explained how the group now focused on commerce not simply e-commerce. The Government Relations’ head also outlined the group’s support for the United Nations around the world.

Explaining Mastercard’s work with postal operators, Davide Ticconi, Head of Business Development Strategy, Government Engagement Europe at the company, discussed the creation of sophisticated postal banks.

Highlighting the challenges of financial exclusion for millions around the world, Ignacio Reid, Chief Operating Officer at RIA Financial said the company was a listed company, but had strong public service roots. He told participants the company was working closely with the UPU and partners on a pilot project with Burundi Post to enable individuals from isolated rural areas to receive money from abroad at fair rates.

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  1. Dirk at 19.01.2016
    Test comment.

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